The University Lecturer Who Became an Axe-Wielding ISIS Hunter

This giant beardsman of a man is Abu Azrael. He’s a celebrity on the streets of Iraq (well, the parts not occupied by ISIS). He’s part of the Imam Ali brigade which gets support and funding from Iran, to fight against their Sunni enemies from ISIS. We don’t bother calling them Daesh as some have, as murderous death cults probably don’t care who calls them what online, so we’ll stick with ISIS. They might even like the insults.

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His nickname means “father of the archangel of death”, not quite as catchy in English, but you get the idea. He’s a photogenic celebrity Islamist killer who goes into battle against ISIS with his signature axe, heavy machine guy and sword.

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He’s  become a huge star in his native Iraq and a powerful propaganda tool and figurehead in the fight against ISIS. He even has a catch phrase which he and his followers say to camera – “Ilha Tahin” which translates to “Nothing but flour”. Meaning, ISIS will be pulverised into flour.

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Nicknamed the ‘father of archangel of death’ in Arabic, Abu Azrael has become the poster boy of the Imam Ali brigade, a Iraqi Shi’a militia group sponsored by Iran.

He’s believed to be a 40 – 42 year old former university lecturer who has since left his job to fight and lead the Iranian backed group.

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He is believed to be a 40-year-old former university lecturer, who left his home to fight Islamic State back in June 2014.

Sources have quoted him as having killed over 1,500 Islamic state fighters, he’s also well known for taunting them via walkie-talkie or radio before attacking.
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Although Azrael has said in interviews that he is open to working with any of Iraq’s religious or ethnic groups to fight ISIS, he’s not without a bit of controversy. Al Jazeera reports that a video of Abu has gone viral, depicting him slicing the charred remains of an ISIS fighter. Some said it was a step too far – but Azrael has countered his critics by saying that the video was misleading:
He replied in a video:
“Would I burn a Sunni man? These were from the Caucasus. One of them was Asian.”

When most of Iraq’s security forces are in disarray, brutal and foreign backed celebrity ISIS-hunters are sure to continue to go down well with the general public in Iraq who are sick of the violence.

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