AQI claims attacks on Haditha, Barwana

Al Qaeda in Iraq’s political front, the Islamic State of Iraq, claimed credit for the series of recent attacks in the western cities of Haditha and Barwana in Anbar province that killed 27 Iraqi policemen. AQI called the attacks the “Invasion of Commander Jarrah al Shami,” according to the SITE Intelligence Group, which translated the statement.

AQI said that “ninety mujahideen, who had pledged for death and many of whom were enrobed with explosive belts, launched in four convoys towards the city of Haditha, under the leadership of the Mujahid Sheikh the Anbar governor.” The target of course was the Shia, now a frequent target of AQI’s ire:

By the grace of Allah, and after relying on Him and fulfilling what pleases Him of the Shariah and universal factors of victory, a group of the descendents of the noble companions and men of the Islamic State launched in a new blessed attack, targeting one of the dear cities of Anbar province, a city in which the heads of infidelity had nested and the apostate profligates had taken as a base to strike the mujahideen, attack Shariah, and empower the Safavid Rafidah [Shi’ites].

The operation was named after Jarrah al Shami, a Syrian who served on the Islamic State of Iraq’s shura, or executive council, according to Iraq scholar Nibras Kazimi. Abu Omar al Baghdadi, the former leader of the ISI, described al Shami as one of the terror group’s “heroes.” So it appears that al Baghdadi’s heroes include at least one non-Iraqi, and possibly two. From Kazimi’s Talisman’s Gate:

The final segment of the speech deals with the second anniversary of the founding of the Islamic State of Iraq, and one oddity about it is al-Baghdadi’s choice of who the top heroes of the Islamic State of Iraq are supposed to be: Abul-Basha’ir al-Juburi (a jihadist leader by the pseudonym of “Abul-Basha’ir” was killed during November 2007, but he was identified as a Syrian national. The Juburi tribal handle makes it more plausible that this particular Abul-Basha’ir is an Iraqi, even though there are some Juburis in Syria), Abu Bakr al-‘Afri (a certain Abu Muhammad al-‘Afri was killed during September 2007 near Mosul; don’t know if this is the same person, the last name suggests an African background), and Muharib al-Juburi. Al-Baghdadi adds that al-‘Afri, al-Shami and al-Juburi were members of the shura [consultative] council of the Islamic State of Iraq, while Abul-Basha’ir is identified as the Chief of Staff of the Army of the State of Islam.

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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