Top Islamic State figure makes appearance in Ramadi: Residents, expert

Reuters , Thursday 28 May 2015

A top Islamic State figure has made an appearance in the Iraqi city of Ramadi, residents said, and a security expert identified him as "the blind judge" who ranks second in terms of religious authority within the militant group.

Residents of Ramadi said a blind man with one hand, whose head was shrouded, had delivered a speech in the Anbar provincial capital's main mosque after evening prayer on Wednesday.

They did not know who he was, but recognised him to be a senior figure because he was flanked by a large number of guards and said his accent indicated he was Iraqi.

Iraqi security expert Hisham al-Hashimi, who closely tracks the ultra-hardline Islamic State insurgents, identified the man as Ali Attiya al-Jubouri, also known as Abu Asim, or "the blind judge of the Islamic State".

"This cleric who appeared in Ramadi yesterday is very famous," Hashimi said. "He is the second highest religious authority after Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and the fifth man in the organization of Daesh." Daesh is an Arabic name for Islamic State.

Ramadi was overrun by Islamic State on May 17 in the most significant setback for Iraqi government forces in almost a year.

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