The Islamic State in Iraq and the Sham, a former al Qaeda affiliate that operates in Iraq and Syria, recently praised six foreign suicide bombers who were killed in attacks in its “Ninewa Division.” The six fighters were from France, Denmark, Morocco, and Saudi Arabia.
The Ninewa Division, one of 16 administrative units in the ISIS’ Islamic state that spans Syria and Iraq, released statements and accompanying images of the six foreign fighters on its Twitter account. The statements were obtained and translated by the SITE Intelligence Group.
Three of the foreign suicide bombers were from Saudi Arabia, and there was also one each from France, Denmark, and Morocco. The exact dates of the suicide operations were not provided by the ISIS. The accompanying statements provided only a brief description of each foreign fighter and his attack.
The Frenchman was identified as Abu al-Qa’qa’ al-Firansi. “He immigrated to al Sham [Syria] days after converting to Islam, and then to Iraq, seeking martyrdom in the cause of Allah,” the statement said, according to SITE. He died while attacking “the federal police headquarters in Mosul” armed with a suicide vest and machine gun. The ISIS claimed that he “killed the battalion commander and many among the police elements.”
The Danish suicide bomber was identified as Abu Sa’ad al Denmarki. The ISIS said he “mobilized from Denmark to the Islamic State, seeking martyrdom in the cause of Allah.” The Danish suicide bomber rammed a car packed with explosives into an Iraqi Army convoy near Mosul.
In the past, the ISIS has announced that two other Danish citizens served as suicide bombers in other divisions.
ISIS touts foreign suicide bombers
The ISIS’ divisions have made a point of eulogizing foreign fighters killed in suicide and conventional operations in Iraq. Three other ISIS divisions — the Baghdad, the Southern [Babil], and the Diyala Division — have released similar videos over the past three months.
In mid-April, the Diyala Division publicized 26 suicide bombers, of whom at least 24 were foreign fighters. The suicide bombers were from Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Tajikistan, the Russian Republic of Chechnya, and Denmark.
In early April, the Southern Division, which operates in Babil province just south of Baghdad, recognized eight suicide bombers from Morocco, Tunisia, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia.
In early March, the Baghdad Division recognized 30 suicide bombers, of whom 24 were from Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan or Pakistan, Denmark, and the Maghreb. [See LWJ reports, ISIS’ ‘Southern Division’ praises foreign suicide bombers; Dane, Uzbek among 30 suicide bombers eulogized by ISIS; and ISIS’ ‘Diyala Division’ lauds foreign suicide bombers, including Dane.]
The ISIS has identified 16 wilayats, or administrative areas or divisions, in territory under its control or influence in Iraq and Syria. A map of the ISIS’ administrative areas, including the 16 wilayats, was published earlier this year. The ISIS map, below, was obtained by The Long War Journal.
Earlier this year, the Anbar Division released two videos of the brutal execution of more than 20 Iraqi soldiers who were captured in Fallujah. The Anbar Division is the largest in Iraq, and one of the most active. The ISIS controls Fallujah and its dam as well as other cities and towns along the Euphrates River Valley. In April, the ISIS held a parade that included captured Iraqi military hardware in Abu Ghraib, a city only two miles outside Baghdad. [See LWJ report, ISIS parades on outskirts of Baghdad.] The Iraqi military has said it launched an offensive to retake Fallujah, but the city remains outside of the government’s control.