Pictures of al Qaeda leader Fazul Mohammed’s corpse, SUV, and weapon

Earlier today, reports emerged that Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, al Qaeda’s leader in East Africa and a senior Shabaab commander, was killed at a Somali military checkpoint in Mogadishu earlier this week [see LWJ report, Al Qaeda’s East Africa chief Fazul Mohammed killed in Somalia: report for more details].

On June 8, Radio Mogadishu published a photograph of one of the two men killed in the June 8 clash at a checkpoint near Mogadishu. Radio Mogadishu initially claimed the man shown in this image was of “Abdurrahman Canadian,” but a Somali official told The Long War Journal that the man pictured is Fazul Abdullah Mohammed. The photographs below are republished from Radio Mogadishu’s website. You can see what is believed to be the body of Fazul, his new SUV with tinted windows that was shot up by Somali troops, and his AK-47 and body armor.

Fazul’s corpse:


Fazul’s SUV:


Fazul’s weapon and body armor:


Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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  • Tyler says:

    For a moving target, thats a pretty nice tight grouping of shots on both the passenger and driver’s side

  • GB says:

    These upper-level terrorists are always driving around in nice vehicles. You’d think they would try to keep a lower profile. Intelligence reports from Abbottabad also said that “luxury” vehicles would often stop at OBL’s hideaway.

  • Scott says:

    Is there a pre-mortem photo ofthe individual to cmpare with? But, I agree, nice shooting by the checkpoint guards.

  • damdoc says:

    center mass only? … no head shot? good riddance and congrats to the somalians.. the must be joining the light side now…

  • Aquila says:

    There is a lot of blood on the body, none on the chest webbing (not “body armour”). I guess that it was in the SUV’s boot when he was killed? Or did they launder it before photographing it? In any case, it looks hardly used; perhaps he wore it very little. Certainly the strap ends are not taped up or anything like that – I realise that he was not a professional soldier, but it adds to the “for show only” look.
    I just hope that these photos are not “disinformation” – that can end badly if it’s not done well.

  • Dairo opeyemi sony says:

    if alqaeda decide to step up their number and frequency of attack,then they wear themselves out more quickly and world comes faster.God bless america!

  • TG says:

    The equipment described in the post and photo caption is not “body armor”. It’s a MOLLE tactical equipment vest. Bullets will zip through it like butter.

  • kp says:

    I posted part of this on the other thread (by accident … to many tabs open 🙂

    I though this might have been a cover story for a special forces raid. But given the photos it looks like it might have been the locals doing the shooting.

    The shooting is very good: at least 12 rounds through the windscreen. The other bullet hits side two look like entry points (by the upright in the side window) . The rear and side hits like exit holes or “gashes” (I think).It looks like most shooting came from the front of the vehicle with only a couple of rounds from the side. I suspect the vehicle was stopped (as the reports say) when they shooting happened. So the two groups from the front is pretty straight-forward. It would seem they didn’t want to be captured once they realized the situation they were in. I suspect they were hit with body shots. It also looks like Fazul Mohammed was wearing a “turban” (head wrap) that has been unwrapped. It has blood on it. It’s quite possible there is a side of the head shot that we can’t see. But a couple of 7.62mm rounds to the chest should have the desired effect.

    I don’t think Fazual was in the trunk: there a two distinct groups of bullet holes in the windscreen i.e. two targets in the front seats. Most on the right side of the car but couple on the left. Somalia drives on the right (not a trivial point in East Africa … the ex-British colonies drive on the left) but I think that SUV is right hand drive. It’s difficult to see but the photo of the body armor seems to show the dash rising to the left of the photo (i.e. to the right hand side of the car from the drivers POV) i.e. a Tanzanian SUV(?). So most of the bullet strikes are at the driver of a right hand side vehicle.

    See the original “big” pictures for more details.



    The militia in place are an interesting collection: look at the shoes/boots. There are a couple well-turned out soldiers (with boots — AU?) but most seem like normal militia with a rag-tag collection of western uniforms, Soviet/Chinese weaponry and interesting choice of leisure clothes (“battlefield casual”?) mixed with camo.

    In a one photo not shown (larger versions on the original site) are the two Somalis(?) both in fully civilian dress with nice shirts and slacks but one with webbing with AK on the left. Local intel folks? Local bigwig + bodyguard? See the middle of this photo.


    They now have a comparison of the passport photo and the “dead body” shot (flipped the right way up)


  • Diggs says:

    Heh, a dead muslim terrorist. I’ll never get tired of seeing them.

  • Kevin says:

    I see the jack under the front axle hasn’t been mentioned. Killed because of a flat tire with bad timing, or jacked up for some reason (shot-out tire) after the fact? If the former, I think it’s safe to assume that the vehicle was not moving. ;->

  • SeesBeyond says:

    Well, I’ll cheer the Somali police on this one, even though it’s usually hard to decide which side to cheer in Somalia. I say good riddance to Fazul Abdullah Mohammed (does anyone get to collect the reward, and if so will we hear about it?) since he was on a most-wanted terrorist list, and hope there are many more stories like this to follow. But situation does have the uncanny feel of Aliens taking out one of the Predator leaders, but only by sheer chance. Tomorrow or the next day it will likely be the other way around.

  • GHOST420 says:

    Nice shots tells you that these idiots are just standing to get the credits. That is work of well trained elite forces who won’t get the credit, but we should know better. good job men.

  • Render says:

    Seconding the bulk of KP’s comment, all of TG’s comment, and Kevin’s question about the jack.
    FM’s AK is an original AK-47, its newish condition indicates that it was in storage for quite some time before it recently found its way to its last owner.
    Noting that at least two of the militia standing around are also carrying older AK-47’s. The folding stock AK appears to be a slightly newer AKM.
    Almost all of the African “armies” use mixed uniforms and weapon types. Outside of South Africa and Egypt it’s fairly rare to see an African military unit that has all matching uniforms and equipment. Those are usually reserved for parades.

  • uncledip says:

    A bon chat, bon rat

  • kp says:

    Not to be too picky, Render, but the rifle on the hood is a Chinese Model 56 (see the fully enclosed front sight in the big image) rather than an original AK-47 (with a partially enclosed front sight). Both have the “smooth” magazine.

    The Model 56 by far the most common “Kalashnikov” in Africa.

  • perpster says:

    Is it just me, or does it look like the high value target was dressed as a woman? The blue top in the head shot looks like a woman’s blouse, and in this shot // it looks like he’s wearing a long woman’s skirt. I’m not up on Somali dress and fashion, but . . .

  • Render says:

    KP – You may very well be correct. I discounted the front sight because I wasn’t sure if that is actually what it was, or possibly an attachment to the web gear next to it, or damage to the windshield or wiper cowling behind it.
    I went with the AK-47 (type 2 or type 3) because of the milled (as opposed to stamped) receiver and the real wood stocks. But that doesn’t entirely rule out the Type 56 so…
    Settle on the newish condition and 7.62x39mm?
    The magazines don’t usually serve as a tell, too many third world backyard blacksmiths turning out too many variations to count.
    Those elderly AK-47’s, supposedly rare these days, keep showing up from the stockpiles of various EastBloc nations, all over the world. (ex Egyptian AK-47 type 3’s, transferred to Sudan in the late 90’s, then given to the Janajaweed, appeared in large numbers in the hands of Ethiopian rebels a few years ago).
    Almost like the supposedly non-existent StG-44’s that showed up in fairly large numbers in Iraq (ex-Yugoslavian).

  • kp says:

    I think the 7.62x39mm is the standard in Africa. I’m sure that old ammo supply is the main reason for the choice. And it does have good stopping power.

    Type 56 are also made in Iran so you see them with Hezbollah too.

    The story of the stop is here: Fazul’s pistol jammed and a single solider got off 30 rounds. I wonder if they were aimed shots or bursts?


    The account given to AP by the young soldier was corroborated by Mogadishu’s deputy mayor for security based on reports of police who were with Hassan at the time. The events as described by Hassan show that while the killing of al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden was the result of meticulous gathering of intelligence and planning, Mohammed seems to have died because he had the bad luck of running into a government checkpoint manned by a determined soldier.

    The driver complied with Hassan’s order and turned on the interior light. Hassan said he looked in and saw a pistol tucked in the driver’s waistband and an AK-47 assault rifle on the lap of the man beside him. That man, authorities later determined after he was already buried, was Mohammed, the mastermind of U.S. Embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania almost 13 years ago and the most wanted man in East Africa.

    “Don’t move your gun,” shouted Hassan, pointing his weapon at the man with the assault rifle. The passenger shouted as the driver drew his pistol to fire at Hassan, the soldier recalled. But the pistol jammed, and Hassan said he fired 30 bullets, a full magazine from his AK-47, into the Toyota Hilux Surf. Both Mohammed and the driver shot back, Hassan said, filling the air with gunfire. When the shooting stopped the two men in the Toyota were dead.

    When the driver referred to “the elders” in the vehicle, that indicated he had at least two passengers. After the shootout, Hassan said he noticed that one of the SUV’s backdoors was open, leading to speculation at least one other occupant may have escaped.

    Who was the other passenger? And I wonder if Hassan get any of the reward?


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