Captain Mohamed al-Zahbawi was sitting together with a group of friends at his home in Karma Village, northeastern Fallujah in the Iraqi province of Anbar, when ISIS militants entered the home and asked them all to lie on the ground.
They then took the captain and his guests out of the room and killed them all. One of the members of the ISIS death squad caught the whole thing on camera.
The media office of ISIS in Fallujah broadcast the same video ten months later, exactly on June 2. It said the killing of the captain and his friends was part of security operations carried out by ISIS squads in the Iraqi city.
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Fallujah is known among its residents as the “City of Mosques”, thanks to the presence of so many mosques in it. There are 220 mosques in the city, a strong sign of the piety of its residents. The same mosques are also a reflection of connections between the city’s residents and militant groups.
Before the late Iraqi president Saddam Hussein was brought down, Omar Haddid, a young Iraqi who was a member of al-Dulaim tribe, came out to call for staging an armed uprising against the Iraqi president. He moved to Karma Village and called for changing things that he deemed a violation of the Islamic religion.
Nevertheless, Hussein’s Baathist regime sentenced Haddid to death. This was why he had to flee the village, only to return to it later when he was pardoned by the Iraqi president.
In April 2003, most Iraqi cities were occupied by the US. However, Fallujah remained calm, until the arrival of US troops. This opened the door for bloodshed to start.
Al-Qaeda started, meanwhile, to regroup in the city to prepare for fighting the US troops.
Haddid met al-Qaeda members and formed the nucleus of the organization in the predominantly Sunni city.
ISIS controlled Fallujah ten years later after battles with the Iraqi army. The army recaptured the city only in 2016.
ISIS security groups were sometimes stronger than conventional armies because they are trained to operate in vital regions. The groups force these armies to spend huge amounts of money to impose their control back on these regions after losing them, according to the ISIS newspaper al-Naba.
The security groups are especially active in destroying the posts of enemy armies or police and staging attacks with explosive devices.