The Islamic State (ISIS) radical group is seeking a possible alliance with al-Qaeda after suffering heavy losses, Iraqi Vice President Ayad Allawi said on Monday.
The Iraqi official said that ISIS has launched talks with al-Qaeda after losing large territory in northern Iraq.
This comes as the Iraqi army and security forces continued to close in on Western Mosul, the final stronghold of ISIS in Iraq’s second largest city.
“The discussion has started now,” Allawi said, based on information he got from local and regional contacts. “There are discussions and dialogue between messengers representing ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and representing al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri.”
ISIS split from al Qaeda in 2014 and the two groups have since waged an acrimonious battle for recruits, funding and the mantle of global extremism.
Al-Zawahiri has publicly criticized ISIS for its brutal methods, including beheadings, drownings and immolation.
“It is unclear how exactly both groups may work together,” Allawi said.
In 2014, the Islamic State group took over large territory across Syria and Iraq, and declared its so-called Caliphate.
According to Allawi, even after its defeat in Mosul ISIS will continue its activities.
“I can’t see ISIS disappearing into thin air,” Allawi said. “They will remain covertly in sleeping cells, spreading their venom all over the world.”
Reporting by: Eyaz Ciziri
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