The Iraqi Shiite militia commander known as the “father of the Angel of Death” to ISIS forces has again surfaced online in two videos.
Abu Azrael, as he is known, sent a taped message from Fallujah, Iraq, addressed to enemies and allies of Iran, posted online by an Iranian state-run media and pro-Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps media outlet this week, according to the Long War Journal.
Abu Azrael, who has been dubbed the Iraqi “Rambo,” is a commander of the Iran-backed Imam Ali Brigade. He became a celebrity of sorts after photos and videos of him fighting against ISIS—also known as Islamic State or ISIS—forces were spread online. He sports a black beard, muscles, and often wields a sword or an axe (and large weapons), appearing often in anti-ISIS propaganda.
However, he gained notoriety after he was shown in a video clip hacking up the burned body of an alleged ISIS fighter like a kebab.
Here’s what he says to the camera, according to the Long War Journal: “Let’s piss these losers off a little bit [lit. press the tired ones a little bit] Iran, Iran. By God, you’ve killed us with [talking about] Iran. Now, if the vehicles didn’t come from Iran, you’d sit down. May God recompense them.”
He added: “Let’s press them a little bit…[Switches to Farsi] I am the killer of Daesh[pejorative for ISIS] for the Imam of the Age Mahdi (blessings upon him).”
In another new video posted online, the bald militant is seen firing a heavy machine gun near the ISIS-held city of Fallujah, MailOnline reported. Fallujah has been under fire by Iraqi government and Shiite militas and paramilitary forces.
Stories about Abu Azrael’s background have abounded, with some claiming he was Iraq’s national champion in Taekwondo. Others said he was a former university professor. Videos posted on YouTube show him lifting weights, smiling, and taking care of his children. “This is my family: my children and my grenades,” he told France24 last year, adding that he taught his kids to pull the pins off grenades if ISIS invades.
“If the imam tells us to march or Saudi Arabia or Yemen, we’ll go,” he also told France24 last year.
The United Nations says that up to 90,000 civilians remain inside ISIS-held Fallujah, compared with a previous estimate of 50,000. Many of those civilians are caught in the crossfire in and around the city.
“We have underestimated how many civilians are in Fallujah,” UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq Lise Grande told Reuters on Wednesday. “People who are coming out are giving us the strong impression that we could be talking about maybe 80,000 to 90,000 civilians that are inside.”
Meanwhile, the UN has said the international community is ignoring ethnic cleansing around Fallujah.
On Tuesday, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees stated: “Eyewitnesses have described how armed groups operating in support of the Iraqi security forces are intercepting people fleeing the conflict, separating the men and teenage boys from the women and children, and detaining the males for ‘security screening’, which in some cases degenerates into physical violations and other forms of abuse, apparently in order to elicit forced confessions. There are even allegations that some individuals have been summarily executed by these armed groups,” according to a report from the European Iraqi Freedom Association on June 10.