One of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's closest collaborators, a relative through marriage, provided key information about the ISIS leader that helped lead to his capture, a senior Iraqi government official told CNN.
Mohammed Ali Sajet -- an ISIS member since 2015, who acted as a guide for Baghdadi -- was detained by Iraqi authorities about two months ago on the outskirts of the capital Baghdad.
A senior official with the Iraqi government told CNN that Sajet provided information about Baghdadi's possible location in Syria, as well as details about a courier that was working with the elusive leader.
“We followed the courier, a raid killed him and that is how we got his wife,” said the senior government official. “He had documents that led to his wife.”
The official said that the courier’s wife led the Iraqis to another location, which had more documents pointing to Baghdadi's whereabouts.
“We give them (the Americans) a tip,” said the official. “We used human intelligence and we get closer.”
While the Iraqi source said the intelligence was central to the manhunt, multiple officials and countries have claimed to have provided information that led to Baghdadi's capture. It was likely a combination of intelligence gathering between several parties that resulted in Baghdadi’s demise.
In an exclusive interview with Saudi-owned Al Arabiya TV station, Sajet said Baghdadi's "hiding tactics were excellent."
"We didn't expect this to happen. Even he didn't expect to be killed due to his security measures,” he said, speaking to Al Arabiya from detention in Iraq.
"I met him in an area close to the Syrian-Iraqi border. His security was good. They were tending and herding sheep. He was there, hiding underground and there was a tent above him."
"Their movement was hard due to the tight grip of security forces on the area I saw him in," he added.
"He was talking about deteriorating security status due to the security forces. He wanted to change his location and didn't know how to."
Fadhil Abu-Ragheef, an Iraqi security expert, told CNN that Sajet gave information to the Iraqis, who shared it with the US and ultimately led them to Baghdadi's compound in Syria's northwestern Idlib province.
Sajet told Al Arabiya that another ISIS member told him he had secured a location in Idlib for Baghdadi.
The Iraqis began to gather more information about Baghdadi six months ago, when they captured a group of six ISIS members west of Anbar, according to Abu-Ragheef. Those six individuals led investigators to Sajet.
Some in the group were also related to Sajet by marriage, and were able to paint a picture for the intelligence services about the terror leader's movements. They would move in the desert and were responsible for bringing Baghdadi food, beverages and women. Sajet described the conditions at one of al-Baghdadi’s hideouts to Al Arabiya.
“He was in an 8-meter-long underground tunnel with a width of 5 to 6 meters. It had a library, religious books, and the Quran and things of sort. It had lights and various things so the hiding situation was good,” he said.