Abu Azrael spotted during PMF’s Mosul operation

Photo 1. Abu Azrael and Abu Mahdi al Muhandis.

Abu Azrael and Abu Mahdi al Muhandis.

Iraqi Shiite militia strongman and Imam Ali Brigades commander, Abu Azrael, was spotted alongside the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) as they make their way through the western axis of Mosul toward Tal Afar. The PMF is attempting to prevent the Islamic State’s escape to Syria through Tal Afar, which is 33 miles west of Mosul.

Abu Azrael gained fame on social media carrying an ax and sword, and mutilating the corpse of a suspected Islamic State “like shwarma” after he was burned alive.

Abu Azrael was recently photographed with Abu Mahdi al Muhandis, the PMF operational commander who was designated by the US Treasury in 2009 as a terrorist and deputy to Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Qods Force (IRGC-QF) . Both Muhandis and Abu Azrael are close to IRGC-QF. Abu Azrael was in Mashhad, Iran, in July and met with IRGC Basij paramilitary chief Mohammad Naghdi.

Photo 2.

Photo 3.

Abu Azrael and IRGC Photo 4. Basij chief Mohammad-Reza Naghdi.

Basij chief Mohammad-Reza Naghdi.

Amir Toumaj is a independent analyst and contributor to FDD's Long War Journal.

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  • den says:

    Why is it that this push to
    tal afar seems like it was only thought of last week or so? I would think it would have been the FIRST thing planned !
    As well as bombing anything that had moved on that highway since early days! Seems like it was a secondary thought.

  • jack says:

    and where were the drones when we needed them?

  • tuffsnotenuff says:

    Gee, they’re doing their damnedest to avoid Perpetual War. Might impact the Pentagon budget in negative ways. Not good for the war sector.

    Of course they are terrorists.

  • irebukeu says:

    You are correct in that it could have been done. The road net could have been cut. In the open desert where The dislodgement of the roadblock would expose All elements used in the effort at the least risk to everyone but IS.


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