Video of celebrity Iraq fighter slicing body goes viral

Shia commander dubbed “Iraq’s Rambo” defends cutting up charred corpse he says was body of ISIL fighter killed in Beiji.

Iraqi Rambo 3 / Facebook
Abu Azrael's pledge to reduce ISIL fighters to 'flour' has become a rallying call among Shia fighters [Facebook]

Video has emerged of a high-profile Iraqi commander of a Shia militia slicing the charred body of a man he accused of being a fighter from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

The video of Abu Azrael, translated from Arabic as “Father of the Angel of Death,” was allegedly shot in Beiji, a northern oil refinery town where Iraqi forces backed by Shia militias are battling ISIL.

“They sent their elite fighters they said, and look at the third one we got, slicing him off. Where will they run away from us?,” Abu Azrael said as he started cutting up the charred body with a sword.

Abu Azrael’s Imam Ali Brigades are part of the Popular Mobilisation Forces, a coalition of Iraqi Shia militias sponsored and armed by the Iraqi government.   

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Dubbed “Iraq’s Rambo” by some, Abu Azrael has become something of an online celebrity as Iraqis disappointed with the country’s army’s limited success in fighting ISIL put their hope in alternative forces.

A Facebook page dedicated to the commander has been “liked” more than 130,000 times.

His pledge to reduce ISIL fighters to “flour” has become a rallying call among Shia fighters taking on the group.

Abu Azrael was quick to defend his actions as the Beiji video was spread online and the hashtag “Sunni burned and sliced with sword” trended on Twitter.

The commander only expressed regret that the video had been posted with a comment that he had ” burned a body of an Iraqi Sunni man in Beiji”.

“Would I burn a Sunni man?,” he asked in a video response. “These were from the Caucasus. One of them was Asian.”

RELATED: Iraqi Shia militias accused of murder spree

Shia militias in Iraq have previously been accused of severe human rights violations and revenge attacks in areas recaptured from ISIL.

A number of graphic videos of Shia fighters committing atrocities have surfaced this year, including one of a Sunni civilian being hit on the head with an axe and another of fighters making jokes and taunting a burning body.  

In a March report, Human Rights Watch accused Iraqi government forces and Shia fighters of burning and looting dozens of Sunni villages in northeastern Iraq, displacing thousands.

The Iraqi government has said it will investigate reports of abuse.

Source: Al Jazeera