Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis
Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis
أبو مهدي المهندس
|Deputy Chairman of Popular Mobilization Committee|
June 2014 – January 2020
|Secretary-General of Kata'ib Hezbollah|
October 2003 – January 2020
|Member of Iraqi Parliament|
Jamal Ja'far Muhammad Ali Al Ibrahim
1 July 1954
Abu Al-Khaseeb, Basra Governorate, Iraq
|Died||3 January 2020 (aged 65)|
Baghdad Airport Road, Baghdad International Airport, Baghdad Governorate, Iraq
|Cause of death||Killed in Action|
|Political party||Islamic Dawa Party (1977–2020)|
|Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (1985–2020)|
|Branch/service||Popular Mobilization Forces|
|Years of service||1985–2020|
|Unit|| Kata'ib Hezbollah |
Badr Brigade (Formerly)
|Battles/wars||Iran Iraq War |
Jamal Ja'far Muhammad Ali Al Ibrahim (Arabic: جمال جعفر محمد علي آل إبراهيم Jamāl Jaʿfar Muḥammad ʿAlīy ʾĀl ʾIbrāhīm, 1 July 1954 – 3 January 2020), known by the kunya Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis (Arabic: أبو مهدي المهندس, lit. 'Father of Mahdi, the Engineer'), also spelled Mohandes, was an Iraqi commander of the Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF). At the time of his death, he was deputy chief of the PMF (Al-Hashd Al-Sha'abi).
Since 1977 he was an opponent of Saddam Hussein and rose quickly in the ranks due to his popular support amongst the people after the regime fell because of his role in the defeat of ISIS. He became the commander of many popular volunteer militias that grew from the need to combat ISIS, including the Kata'ib Hezbollah militia group, which is designated a terror organisation by the governments of Japan, the US and the UAE ; and prior to that worked with the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps against Saddam Hussein's regime.
Allegations of terrorism have been levelled against him over his activities in Kuwait in the 1980s. He was sentenced to death in absentia in 2007 by a court in Kuwait for his involvement in the 1983 Kuwait bombings. Muhandis was on the United States list of designated terrorists. However this has been disputed due to his role in combating the Ba'ath regime rather than supporting it (via attacking Kuwait). The charges were dropped when the new Iraqi government was formed in 2004. The organisations he oversaw, such as the Popular Mobilization Forces have been reported to have close links to the Quds Force, part of the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Jamal Jaafar al-Ibrahimi was born on 1 July 1954 in Abu Al-Khaseeb District, Basra Governorate, Iraq, to an Iraqi father and an Iranian mother. He finished his studies in engineering in 1977 and in the same year joined the Shia-based Dawa Party, which opposed the Ba'athist government.
On 1979, after the activity of the Dawa Party was banned and hundreds of opponents were sentenced to death by Saddam Hussein Al-Muhandis fled, across the border to Ahvaz in Iran, where the Iranians had set up a camp to train Iraqi dissidents, with the aim of undermining Saddam. He was known as Jamal al-Ibrahimi in Iran and he became a citizen of Iran by marrying a woman. He began working with Iran's Revolutionary Guard in Kuwait in 1983, organizing attacks on embassies of countries that supported Saddam in the Iran–Iraq War. Hours after the December 1983 bomb attacks on U.S. and French embassies in Kuwait, he fled to Iran. He was later convicted and sentenced to death in absentia by a court in Kuwait for planning the attacks. He was later appointed a military adviser to the Quds Force, advising on attacks against Iraqi military based in his hometown of Basra.
He returned to Iraq following the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 and went on to serve as a security adviser to the first Iraqi prime minister after the invasion, Ibrahim al-Jaafari. In 2005 he was elected to the Iraqi Parliament as a Dawa Party representative for the Babil Governorate. When U.S. officials realised his identity and connection with the 1983 attacks, they raised the issue with then-Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki in 2006 or 2007. He had to flee to Iran. He formed Kata'ib Hezbollah between 2003 and 2007.
On 31 December 2019, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo named al-Muhandis, along with Qais Khazali, Hadi al-Amiri, and Falih Alfayyadh, as responsible for the attack on the United States embassy in Baghdad.
War against ISIL in Iraq
After the formation of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) as a group in 2014, he was appointed to command the group. The PMF group composed of some 40 militias that fought in nearly every major battle against ISIL.
In 2009, al-Muhandis was sanctioned by the United States Department of the Treasury for allegedly helping the IRGC. Muhandis was also accused of being linked to the IJO who participated in 1983 United States embassy bombing in Beirut.
Abu Mahdi was killed on 3 January 2020 around 1:00 a.m. local time (22:00 UTC 2 January), by missiles shot from American drones which targeted Qasem Soleimani and his convoy near Baghdad International Airport. BBC News, NBC News, DW News, Time, The Guardian and other media outlets have described the killing as an assassination.
Funeral and burial
On 4 January, a funeral procession for Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and Soleimani was held in Baghdad with thousands of mourners in attendance, waving Iraqi and militia flags and chanting "death to America, death to Israel". The procession started at the Al-Kadhimiya Mosque in Baghdad. Iraq's prime minister, Adil Abdul-Mahdi, and leaders of Iran-backed militias attended the funeral procession. They were taken to the holy Shia cities of Najaf and Karbala were held funeral prayers on them.
He was transferred to Iran for the DNA test. A funeral procession was started from Ahvaz then was taken them to Mashhad. On 6 January, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei held funeral prayers among hundreds of thousands of people and crying in front of the flag-draped coffins for the deceased. On 7 January, his body was returned to Iraq and transferred to his hometown of Basra. His burial was delayed because of the huge crowd at the funeral. On 8 January, Al-Muhandis was buried in Iraq's Najaf where hundreds of mourners gathered to pay their final respects. Funeral processions were also held in several Iraqi cities prior to Najaf, including Baghdad and Karbala.
On 3 January 2021, the first anniversary of Qassem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis' deaths was observed in Baghdad. Tens of thousands of Iraqis marched on the highway leading to the airport while chanting anti-American slogans.
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