ISIS commanders are reportedly ordering the deaths of dozens of their own fighters in a desperate attempt to crack down on spies, who they blame for passing along information to the U.S.-led coalition. According to reports, the information has led to the assassination of several senior militants.
According to the Washington Post, over the past months, “minister of war” Omar al-Shishani, top finance official Haji Iman, and a battle hardened Iraqi militant, Abu Wahib, have been killed. In Mosul, a northern city in Iraq and the biggest city held by ISIS, a string of militants who have held the post of governor and “wali” have also died in a succession of air strikes.
However, it was the death of senior commander Abu Hayjaa al-Tunsi that finally sent the terrorist sect’s leadership into panic mode.
The senior commander, who was notorious for his closely guarded movements, was bombed by a drone while he was driving to northern Syria to assume leadership over militants in the area. His death is being blamed for the deaths of more than 38 ISIS fighters, which the top brass accused of acting as informants. A number of other fighters were imprisoned, while others fled the city fearing they would be next on the hit list.
The fear of informants being randomly killed or imprisoned is reportedly fueling increased mistrust among ISIS militants. As reported by Fox, those who use the internet or own a mobile phone believe they are in danger of being accused of spying for the enemy. As a deterrent to other possible spies, ISIS allegedly displays the bodies of suspects in an attempt to encourage them to abandon their covert operations.
Isis kills dozens of its own fighters with suspected spies ‘dropped in vat of acid’ https://t.co/Ta9VM3melH
— The Independent (@Independent) June 6, 2016
Some of the killing methods have been particularly gruesome and include dropping fighters in vats of acid. An opposition activist in Syria said commanders of the Islamic State were increasingly afraid of being killed and many are refusing to travel by road from Iraq to Syria. He also said those appointed to official posts have asked not to be named to avoid being targeted by airstrikes.
The rumors about ISIS killing suspected spies come at a time when the Islamic state is beginning to lose ground in Iraq and Syria.
An Iraqi government onslaught has already retaken Ramadi, a western city, and is on the verge of overrunning the Islamic caliphate in the city of Fallujah.
Rami Abdurrahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, revealed some militants began selling sensitive information to the coalition when the Islamic state drastically reduced salaries after oil facilities were bombarded earlier in the year. According to Abdurrahman, “they have executed dozens of fighters on charges of giving information to the coalition or putting GPS chips in order for aerial strikes to target specific areas.”
As a result, ISIS militants are resorting to drastic measures to oust spies. For example, suspected spies are reportedly given inaccurate information about the movements of an ISIS leader. If there is a strike at that location, they assume the suspect is, in fact, a spy.
ISIS executes dozens of its own fighters in hunt for spies after US-led airstrikes kill dozens of senior leaders https://t.co/V9v7waxf4D
— Fox News (@FoxNews) June 6, 2016
The militants are also suspected of conducting unannounced searches of fighters’ cell phones and other electronic devices.
A senior Iraqi official revealed ISIS leadership is concentrating on weeding out spies because they lost several commanders who will be difficult to replace.
An Iraqi militant, known as Wuhayeb, was killed last month in an airstrike. According to reports, he was a battle-hardened fighter for Al-Qaeda before joining the Islamic state. In 2013, the notorious militant was seen in a video killing a group of Syrian truck drivers. When he was killed in a May 6 strike, ISIS reportedly killed dozens of its own members, including mid-level officials, in an attempt to thwart any possible spies.