Mohamed Moumou

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Mohamed Moumou or Abu Qaswarah or Abu Sara
Born July 30, 1965
Fez, Morocco[1]
Died October 5, 2008 (aged 43)
Mosul, Iraq
Allegiance al-Qaeda
Unit Al-Qaeda in Iraq
Battles/wars Iraqi insurgency

Mohamed Moumou (Arabic: محمد مومو‎) (also known as Abu Qaswarah or Abu Sara[2]) (July 30, 1965[3] – October 5, 2008) was a Moroccan-born Swedish national who was reportedly the No. 2 leader of al-Qaida in Iraq and the senior leader in Northern Iraq.[1][4] He died in a building in Mosul during a shootout with American troops.[1][5]

Born in Fez, Morocco,[3] he was one of the founders of the militant Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group (Groupe Islamique Combattant Marocain, or GICM).[6] Moumou immigrated to Sweden in the mid-1980s and gained Swedish citizenship in the mid-1990s.[1]

In March 2004, Moumou was arrested in Copenhagen, Denmark, at the Moroccan authorities request for his alleged role in the 2003 Casablanca bombings.[7] He was released by the Danish authorities after a month and sent back to Sweden.[8]

While in Sweden, he was the "uncontested leader of an extremist group centered around the Brandbergen Mosque" in the Stockholm suburb of Haninge, according to the U.S. Treasury Department.[3][9] Säpo, the Swedish intelligence agency, had been keeping an eye on him since the mid-1990s, suspecting him of leading an Islamist network that supported terrorism abroad.[1] He was believed to be recruiting Jihadists to fight in Iraq from his base in Sweden.[1] The Swedes also suspected that he had taken part in terrorist attacks and fought in Afghanistan in the 1990s.[1] In May 2006, he left for Iraq and never returned.[1] In December 2006, he was placed on the EU and UN terrorist lists.[1][3]

According to the U.S. military, Abu Qaswarah was a charismatic figure who became the senior commander in northern Iraq in June 2007 and was second in command of Al-Qaida in Iraq behind Abu Ayyub al-Masri.[4] Allegedly, he was in charge of smuggling foreign fighters into northern Iraq and killed the fighters who did not want to attack Iraqis or carry out suicide missions.[4] Prior to his death, a large number of Iraqi Christians were killed, and their murders were widely blamed on al-Qaida.[4] He is also accused of orchestrating the failed attack on the Mosul Civic Center, which if successful would have killed hundreds on Iraqi civilians.[5]

According to the United States Department of the Treasury, Moumou traveled to Afghanistan in the mid-1990s to participate in the al-Qaeda-run Khalden training camp.[3] According to TelQuel, Moumou was recruited in 1996 by Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi to serve as a "sleeper agent" in Stockholm.[6] Moumou reportedly served, at some time in the past, as "Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's representative in Europe for issues related to chemical and biological weapons".[3] He reportedly maintained ties to "al-Zarqawi's inner circle" in Iraq.[3]

He was also the editor of the Al Ansar newsletter connected to the Algerian Armed Islamic Group (Groupe Islamique Armé, or GIA).[6]

The U.S. military said that it tracked Abu Qaswarah to a building in Mosul, which served as a "key command and control location" for Al-Qaida in Iraq.[5] On 5 October 2008, they entered the building, were fired upon, and during the shootout they killed five people, one of which was Abu Qaswarah.[5] His death was announced ten days later, when positive identification was made on his body.[4]

The U.S. military said his death would make it more difficult for Al-Qaida to network and operate in the region.[4]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Swedish al-Qaeda leader killed in Iraq". The Local. 15 October 2008. Archived from the original on October 16, 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-16. 
  2. ^ "Iraq's Second-Ranked Terrorist Was A Swede". CBS. 2008-10-20. Archived from the original on October 20, 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-20. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "Treasury Designations Target Terrorist Facilitators" (Press release). United States Department of the Treasury. 2006-12-07. Archived from the original on May 26, 2007. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f Reid, Robert H. (2008-10-15). "US military: No. 2 al-Qaida in Iraq leader killed". Yahoo!. Archived from the original on October 18, 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-15. 
  5. ^ a b c d "U.S. military: Senior al Qaeda chief killed in Iraq". CNN. 2008-10-15. Retrieved 2008-10-16. 
  6. ^ a b c "Terrorisme. Un Marocain financier d'Al Qaïda" (in French). TelQuel. 
  7. ^ "Terrormisstänkt häktad i Danmark" (in Swedish). Dagens Nyheter. 2004-03-31. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007. 
  8. ^ Svensson, Ewa (2004-04-27). "Terrormisstänkt svensk-marockan släppt" (in Swedish). Dagens Nyheter. Archived from the original on April 26, 2007. 
  9. ^ "Terrorist linked to Stockholm mosque". The Local. 16 October 2008. Archived from the original on October 17, 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-16.