|Mohamed Moumou or Abu Qaswarah or Abu Sara|
|Born||July 30, 1965
|Died||October 5, 2008 (aged 43)
|Unit||Al-Qaeda in Iraq|
Mohamed Moumou (Arabic: محمد مومو) (also known as Abu Qaswarah or Abu Sara) (July 30, 1965 – October 5, 2008) was a Moroccan-born Swedish national who was the No. 2 leader of al-Qaida in Iraq and the senior leader in Northern Iraq. He died in a building in Mosul during a shootout with American troops.
Born in Fez, Morocco, he was one of the founders of the militant Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group (Groupe Islamique Combattant Marocain, or GICM). Moumou immigrated to Sweden in the mid-1980s and gained Swedish citizenship in the mid-1990s.
In March 2004, Moumou was arrested in Copenhagen, Denmark, at the Moroccan authorities request for his alleged role in the 2003 Casablanca bombings. He was released by the Danish authorities after a month and sent back to Sweden.
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. 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. He was believed to be recruiting Jihadists to fight in Iraq from his base in Sweden. The Swedes also suspected that he had taken part in terrorist attacks and fought in Afghanistan in the 1990s. In May 2006, he left for Iraq and never returned. In December 2006, he was placed on the EU and UN terrorist lists.
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. 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. Prior to his death, a large number of Iraqi Christians were killed, and their murders were widely blamed on al-Qaida. He is also accused of orchestrating the failed attack on the Mosul Civic Center, which if successful would have killed hundreds on Iraqi civilians.
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. According to TelQuel, Moumou was recruited in 1996 by Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi to serve as a "sleeping agent" in Stockholm. 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". He still reportedly maintains ties to "al-Zarqawi's inner circle" in Iraq.
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. 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. His death was announced ten days later, when positive identification was made on his body.
His death will make it more difficult for Al-Qaida to network and operate in the region, according to the U.S. military. However, Al-Qaida has been more successful than other groups in its ability to replace captured and killed leaders.
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- "Terrorisme. Un Marocain financier d’Al Qaïda" (in French). TelQuel.
- "Terrormisstänkt häktad i Danmark" (in Swedish). Dagens Nyheter. 2004-03-31.
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- "Terrorist linked to Stockholm mosque". The Local. 16 October 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-16.