Iraq's 'Sheikh of Snipers' Killed in Battle to Retake ISIS-Held Hawija

Published October 1st, 2017 - 06:29 GMT
The Hawija enclave is one of just two areas of Iraq still held by ISIS, along with a stretch of the Euphrates Valley near the border with Syria (AFP/File Photo)
The Hawija enclave is one of just two areas of Iraq still held by ISIS, along with a stretch of the Euphrates Valley near the border with Syria (AFP/File Photo)

A veteran Iraqi fighter known as "the sheikh of snipers" has been killed while fighting with pro-government forces attempting to retake the ISIS-held town of Hawija, his militia announced Saturday.

Abu Tahsin al-Salhi, who had fought in conflicts as far back as the 1973 Arab-Israeli war, was reportedly gunned down at least 320 IS fighters in his recent career.

The 63-year-old was also a veteran of the 1980-1988 war against Iran, the 1990 invasion of Kuwait, and in Saddam Hussein's army that fought against U.S. troops in 2003.

Having turned his sights on the ISIS group in recent years, he fought as a sniper in the ranks of the Hashd al-Shaabi, a pro-government - mostly Shia - militia force.

"Today, I gunned down two of them (IS fighters). That's ridiculous - the minimum for me is four," al-Salhi was recorded as saying in a Hashd al-Shaabi video. "I killed 173 of them, and now I'm at 320".

At his funeral on Saturday in the southern Iraqi city of Basra, fellow Hashd al-Shaabi member Ahmad Ali Hussein described al-Salhi as being famously known as "the sheikh of snipers" or "hawk eye".

Having already captured Mosul and Tal Afar from the ISIS group this year, Iraqi pro-government forces are advancing on Hawija, a region notoriously regarded as being one of Iraq's most lawless areas.

The Hawija enclave is one of just two areas of Iraq still held by ISIS, along with a stretch of the Euphrates Valley near the border with Syria.

The latest offensive against the militants comes just hours after ISIS published an alleged recording from its leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi via its propaganda outlet al-Furqan media.

The groups have also made advances in Syria.

 

 

This article has been adapted from its original source.


Copyright @ 2019 The New Arab.

You may also like