ISIS has killed dozens of its own members as leaders are gripped by informant paranoia

ISIS has killed dozens of its own members whom they suspected were acting as informants, the Associated Press reports.

A number of airstrikes that killed prominent ISIS figures, including the killing of Abu Hayjaa al-Tunsi, a Tunisian member, sparked the killing spree as leaders of the group became convinced that their own members were acting as informants.

Following the start of the “purge” in March, some members have also been imprisoned and others have fled the group, fearing they could be killed next. That’s according to Syrian opposition activists, Kurdish militia commanders, an ISIS informant who works for the Iraqi government, and Iraqi intelligence officials who spoke to the AP.

The slew of airstrikes hitting high-ranking members has made ISIS commanders increasingly paranoid and stopped them from moving from Iraq to Syria out of fear of being hit.

Reports that the group had been weakening — despite ISIS-lead or ISIS-inspired attacks in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia — have consistently been surfacing in recent months.

The group suffered one of its biggest defeats yet after the Iraqi government recaptured the western city of Ramadi earlier this year. ISIS is also currently fighting to retain control of Fallujah in Iraq.

ISIS delivered what J.M. Berger, a fellow at the George Washington University Program on Extremism, told Business Insider reporter Pamela Engel was “the weakest message we’ve seen from ISIS possibly ever” in May, after the main spokesman for the group released an audio recording attempting to justify ISIS’s recent losses in the Middle East.

In the message, he claimed the group did “not wage jihad to defend a land, nor to liberate it, or to control it,” a break from the previous messages of “remaining and expanding.”

This internal witch-hunt might be the latest sign that the group is struggling to remain in control of the areas it occupies and the people inside its own organisation.

Reuters reported in April that ISIS‘s income and the population under its control had both fallen by about a third.

In February, Business Insider reported that ISIS had lost an estimated 40% of its territory in Iraq, and 20% in Syria while the international coalition struck ISIS oil trucks and ISIS financial headquarters.

Read the full AP report here.

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