Shaker Wahib al-Fahdawi a.k.a. Abu Wahib

Shaker Wahib al-Fahdawi, commonly known as Abu Wahib, was a former member of al-Qaeda who became ISIS’s senior military commander in Anbar province.Thomas Gibbons-Neff and Joby Warrick, “Notorious Islamic State leader killed in airstrike, Pentagon says,” Washington Post, May 9, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2016/05/09/notorious-islamic-state-leader-killed-in-airstrike-pentagon-says/. He reportedly held significant sway over younger militant members, and was, according to Western media, “obsessively image-conscious” and “something of a cult figure for up-and-coming jihadis.”Tim Arango and Eric Schmitt, “Escaped Inmates From Iraq Fuel Syrian Insurgency,” New York Times, February 12, 2014, http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/13/world/middleeast/escaped-inmates-from-iraq-fuel-syria-insurgency.html?_r=0; Thomas Gibbons-Neff and Joby Warrick, “Notorious Islamic State leader killed in airstrike, Pentagon says,” Washington Post, May 9, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2016/05/09/notorious-islamic-state-leader-killed-in-airstrike-pentagon-says/.

In 2006, U.S. forces captured Abu Wahib in Iraq and held him at the U.S.-run Camp Bucca prison in the south of the country.“ISIS Commander mocked online for ‘shawarma’ outfit,” Al Arabiya, March 18, 2015, http://english.alarabiya.net/en/variety/2015/03/18/ISIS-commander-mocked-online-for-doner-kebab-outfit.html; Suman Varandani, “Who Is Abu Wahib? ISIS Leader In Iraq’s Anbar Province Killed In US Airstrike,” International Business Times, May 10, 2016, http://www.ibtimes.com/who-abu-wahib-isis-leader-iraqs-anbar-province-killed-us-airstrike-2366652. He was transferred to Iraq’s Tikrit prison after the U.S. withdrawal,Thomas Gibbons-Neff and Joby Warrick, “Notorious Islamic State leader killed in airstrike, Pentagon says,” Washington Post, May 9, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2016/05/09/notorious-islamic-state-leader-killed-in-airstrike-pentagon-says/. but escaped in 2012 alongside more than 100 other prisoners during an al-Qaeda raid on the facility.“A mass escape from Tikrit prison,” SkyNews Arabia, September 28, 2012, http://www.skynewsarabia.com/web/article/47628فرار-جماعي-سجن-تكريت. Wahib first gained notoriety in 2013, when he was filmed harshly interrogating three Syrian truck drivers in Anbar province in order to ascertain if they were Sunni.“Abu Wahib sentences three truck drivers to death in 2013,” Daily Mail (London), http://www.dailymail.co.uk/video/news/video-1099961/Abu-Wahib-sentences-three-truck-drivers-death-2013.html. Unsatisfied as to their Islamic commitment, Abu Wahib executed all three men on the side of the highway. After the murders, Anbar province intelligence official Colonel Yasin Dwaij remarked, “[Abu Wahid] is the only one who kills without covering his face, and is working on declaring an Islamic state…He is dangerous and cunning.”Agence France-Presse Baghdad, “Bare-faced killer rises to fore of Iraqi militancy,” Gulf Times (Doha), http://www.gulf-times.com/region/216/details/364086/bare-faced-killer-rises-to-fore-of-iraq-militancy. His charismatic qualities and prominence in ISIS propaganda videos made Abu Wahib an ISIS figurehead, “an image intended to inspire and stir ISIS supporters inside and outside Iraq,” according to Al-Monitor.Mushreq Abbas, “Has al-Qaeda found Zarqawi’s successor?” Al-Monitor, January 15, 2014, http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/01/iraq-isis-shaker-wahib-zarqawi.html#.

In or around 2013, authorities in Anbar province placed a $50,000 bounty on Abu Wahib. This later rose to $500,000.Agence France-Presse Baghdad, “Bare-faced killer rises to fore of Iraqi militancy,” Gulf Times (Doha), http://www.gulf-times.com/region/216/details/364086/bare-faced-killer-rises-to-fore-of-iraq-militancy; “ISIS Commander mocked online for ‘shawarma’ outfit,” Al Arabiya, March 18, 2015, http://english.alarabiya.net/en/variety/2015/03/18/ISIS-commander-mocked-online-for-doner-kebab-outfit.html. In 2014, the New York Times described Abu Wahib as “perhaps the most dangerous Al Qaeda figure to emerge here [in Iraq].”Tim Arango and Eric Schmitt, “Escaped Inmates From Iraq Fuel Syrian Insurgency,” New York Times, February 12, 2014, http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/13/world/middleeast/escaped-inmates-from-iraq-fuel-syria-insurgency.html?_r=0.

According to the Pentagon, Abu Wahib was killed in a U.S. air strike on May 6, 2016, that targeted his vehicle near the western Iraqi town of Rutbah. Three other ISIS militants reportedly died in the strike.Thomas Gibbons-Neff and Joby Warrick, “Notorious Islamic State leader killed in airstrike, Pentagon says,” Washington Post, May 9, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2016/05/09/notorious-islamic-state-leader-killed-in-airstrike-pentagon-says/; “Senior Islamic State leader in Iraq, Abu Wahib, ‘killed’ by US airstrike,” Guardian (London), May 9, 2016, http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/may/10/senior-islamic-state-leader-in-iraq-abu-wahib-killed-by-us-airstrike.

 
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On July 23, 2016, two suicide bombers targeted members of Afghanistan’s Hazara ethnic minority who were demonstrating in Kabul. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack, which killed at least 97 people and injured 260 others. 

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