Massively obese ISIS “mufti” was pulled from his hiding spot by elite Iraqi SWAT team members in a raid on Thursday. He is considered one of the biggest captures in months. Photos show the large man was too large to fit in a police car and had to put in the back of a cop car. He was hauled off to prison.
Shifa al-Nima was nabbed by the SWAT regiment of the Nineveh police command in Mosul district in northern Iraq according to Iraq’s security media cell. Iraq has continued to fight ISIS even amid months of protests and recent US-Iran tensions in the country. The US-led coalition suspended anti-ISIS operations earlier this month but has recently tried to restart them.
According the Iraqi police this “mufti” was a well known preacher who spread extremism in mosques against security forces and incited on behalf of ISIS.
“He is considered one of the foremost leaders of ISIS and was responsible for issuing fatwas that led to the murder of scholars and clerics,” Iraqi police said.
Nima also issued the fatwa to bomb the tomb of the Prophet Yunus in Mosul, an ancient cultural site. He was arrested in the Mansur neighborhood in western Mosul, the so-called “right side” of the city due to it being on the right bank of the Tigris river.
Locals in Mosul have terrible memories of the “mufti,” who they say was a strong supporter of destroying Mosul’s heritage.
Photos posted online show that the ISIS member had become massively obese in hiding, weighing several hundred pounds. It was unclear how he was removed from his hiding place and many online mocked his weight saying he must have been hiding in a bakery.
Photos from his time as a mufti under ISIS show him smiling and relaxing. His name is sometimes given as “Shia Naemah,” or Shifa bin Ali al-Nima’a or Abu Abdul Bari.
ISIS continues to have a presence in Iraq, but it has been unable to launch major operations. Nevertheless, it has many sleeper cells and also has members living in caves and hideouts in rural areas of Iraq, preparing for a resurgence.