Abu Iman al-Iraqi, a top jihadi leader and spokesman of the Islamic State (ISIS) in Iraq’s northwestern Nineveh Governorate, has reportedly deserted the group’s ranks on Tuesday.
“Al-Iraqi has escaped with is family. His office and house in Mosul city of Nineveh Governorate were found empty on Tuesday, when the ISIS-led Hisba Police was searching for him after receiving information about his intention to leave,” media activist Abdullah al-Malla told ARA News in Mosul.
The ISIS leadership issued a statement, accusing al-Iraqi of treason and demanding its militants to look for him.
Abu Iman al-Iraqi was the second official spokesman for the Islamic State after Abu Muhammed al-Adnani, who was killed in an airstrike in Aleppo three weeks ago.
Last week, another ISIS official deserted the group’s ranks in northern Iraq. Mahmoud Muhammad Sulaiman, the chief of al-Hisba Police in Mosul and a close friend to the ISIS supreme leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, has reportedly escaped Mosul and the group was unable to pursue him.
The ISIS radical group has taken over Mosul city and other parts of Iraq in June of 2014. In late 2015, the group’s power started to decrease under heavy airstrikes by the US-led coalition and ground operations by the Kurdish Peshmerga forces and the Iraqi army. Later on, a number of top jihadi leaders in the group’s ranks were killed, while others defected amid an internal conflict within ISIS over power and money distribution.