US puts Paris and Brussels bomb suspect on terror list
Baghdad seeks UN assistance in prosecuting ISIL for war crimes
The US state department on Thursday added two ISIL leaders to its terror blacklist, one of whom is suspected to have been the mastermind behind the deadly attacks in Paris and Brussel.
Ahmad Al Khald provided suicide vests and explosives expertise before the November 2015 attacks in Paris that left 130 dead, and the March 2016 attacks at Brussels airport and a metro station that killed 32 people, the state department said.
A Syrian national, Al Khald returned to Syria shortly before the attacks in Paris and continued to help in ISIL operations.
"Al Khald continued to guide ISIL operatives in Europe on making the bombs used in the Brussels attacks," the state department said. He is wanted internationally and a European warrant for his arrest has been issued.
The other new name on the terror list is Abu Yahya Al Iraqi, also known as Iyad Hamed Mahl Al Jumaily. He is a senior ISIL figure who reports to the group's leader Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi, providing security for him and also overseeing ISIL’s security in Iraq and Syria.
The state department said these designations were part of a "larger comprehensive plan to defeat ISIL".
They come at a time when the Iraqi government is seeking UN assistance in collecting evidence to prosecute ISIL for war crimes.
The foreign minister, Ibrahim Al Jaafari wrote to secretary general Antonio Guterres on Wednesday to say that “his government and the United Kingdom are working on a draft Security Council resolution seeking assistance”.
"The crimes committed by ISIL against civilians and destruction of infrastructure and archaeological sites in Iraq are crimes against humanity, which makes it important to bring its perpetrators from terrorist gangs to justice, in accordance with the Iraqi law,” Mr Al Jaafari wrote.
The foreign minister said Iraq was seeking the "assistance of the international community to benefit from international expertise" in prosecuting the extremist group.
The foreign minister underlined Iraq's "sovereignty and jurisdiction" in both negotiating and implementing any Security Council resolution.
Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney, who represents victims from Iraq's Yazidi community who were raped and abducted by ISIL , welcomed Mr Al Jaafari's letter as an important first step to bring ISIL members to justice.
"I hope that the Iraqi government's letter will mark the beginning of the end of impunity for genocide and other crimes that ISIS is committing in Iraq and around the world,” Mrs Clooney said in a statement.
But, she warned, it would only be meaningful if the Security Council acted promptly so that evidence could be collected of ISIL's crimes.
Mr Al Jaafari also praised Iraq's armed forces for recently liberating the city of Mosul from ISIL and for "brilliant military victories with the support and cooperation of the international coalition”.
Updated: August 17, 2017 10:50 PM