Turkey captured the wife of slain Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in Syria a day after capturing his sister and her family, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Wednesday.
The woman was not identified. Baghdadi is believed to have had multiple wives. Erdogan mocked the way President Donald Trump publicized the death of al-Baghdadi, who blew himself up when cornered in a dead-end tunnel by U.S. forces last month.
“The U.S. said that Baghdadi killed himself in a tunnel and started a serious PR campaign,” Erdogan said. “We captured his wife and we didn’t make a fuss, I’m declaring this for the first time. Similarly, we caught his sister and brother-in-law in Syria. We will continue our work in this regard.”
Erdogan spoke at a ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of Ankara University’s theology facility.
He continued by criticizing terrorists and saying they are not true Muslims.
“A careful analysis of those who exploit Islam to carry out terrorist activities will show that they are actually enemies of Islam,” Erdogan said. “Western powers, which shamelessly use the term ‘Islamic terror’ should look in the mirror first. If you’re looking for terrorists, you have them.”
He also said Turkey’s defense industry has grown significantly, allowing the country to build its own drones to fight terrorists.
“When we came to power, only 20 percent of Turkey’s defense industry was domestically produced but now it is 70 percent,” Erdogan said.
Baghdadi’s sister Rasmiya Awad, 65, was captured in Azaz in northern Syria by Turkish forces. Authorities believe she will provide a treasure trove of intelligence about the Islamic State.
At its height, Baghdadi’s Islamic State controlled an area the size of Britain and carried out terrorist attacks around the world with tens of thousands of fighters. Last month, Trump declared the so-called “caliphate” destroyed.
The terrorist group announced that a new leader has been appointed. U.S. officials are investigating who the leader is and where he came from.