20 Facts About Ansar al-Islam


Ansar al-Islam in Kurdistan, simply called Ansar al-Islam, nicknamed the Kurdish Taliban, is a Kurdish Islamist militant and separatist group.

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On 29 August 2014,50 members and commanders of Ansar al-Islam announced that they were joining ISIS individually, however Ansar al-Islam continued to oppose ISIS and kept functioning independently.

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Ansar al-Islam seeks to establish an "Islamic state" under Sharia law, as well as to obtain and preserve the "legitimate rights" of the Kurds.

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Ansar al-Islam was formed in September 2001 from a merger of Jund al-Islam, led by Abu Abdullah al-Shafi'i, and a splinter group from the Kurdistan Islamic Movement led by Mullah Krekar.

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Krekar became the leader of the merged Ansar al-Islam, which opposed an agreement made between IMK and the dominant Kurdish group in the area, Patriotic Union of Kurdistan.

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Ansar al-Islam initially comprised approximately 300 men, many of them Kurdish veterans of Jihad in the Soviet–Afghan War.

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Former prisoners of the group claim that Ansar al-Islam routinely used torture and severe beatings when interrogating prisoners.

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In September 2003, members of Ansar al-Islam, who had fled to Iran after the 2003 joint Iraqi-US operation against them, announced the creation of a group called Jamaat Ansar al-Sunna, which was mostly Arab and was dedicated to expelling US forces from Iraq.

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Ansar al-Islam al-Sunna became a prominent insurgent group active in the so-called Sunni Triangle, carrying out kidnappings, suicide bombings, and guerilla attacks.

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Ansar al-Islam remained active after the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq of 2011, taking part in the insurgency against Iraq's central government.

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Ansar al-Islam has established a presence in Syria to take part in the Syrian Civil War, initially under the name of "Ansar al-Sham", later under its own name.

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Ansar al-Islam remained functioning when many high-ranking members joined ISIS.

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On 30 October 2019, Ansar al-Islam claimed responsibility for an IED attack on a Popular Mobilization Forces vehicle in the Diyala Governorate in northeastern Iraq.

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In January 2003, the US alleged that Ansar al-Islam provided a possible link between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda, and said to prepare to unveil new evidence of it.

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In March–April 2003, BBC reported that a captured Iraqi intelligence officer had indicated that a senior Ansar al-Islam leader, Abu Wail, was a former Iraqi intelligence officer.

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The Defense Intelligence Agency stated that senior Ansar al-Islam detainees revealed that the group viewed Saddam's regime as apostates, and denied any relationship with them.

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US terrorism expert Rohan Gunaratna, who supported Krekar against the claims that Ansar al-Islam had ties to Saddam Hussein, confirmed that Ansar al-Islam had ties to al-Qaeda.

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On February 18,2001, four Kurdish Ansar al-Islam members assassinated Franso Hariri while he was on his way to work.

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In March 22,2003, Ansar al-Islam detonated a car bomb, killing Australian journalist Paul Moran and several others.

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In November 2008, an archbishop in Mosul received a threat signed by the "Ansar al-Islam brigades", warning all Christians to leave Iraq or else be killed.

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