Sadr City, Baghdad, Iraq
|Alleged to be a member of||Mahdi Army, Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq|
Qais al-Khazali (born 1974) is best known as the founder and leader of the (allegedly) Iranian-backed Special Groups in Iraq from June 2006 until his capture by American forces in March 2007. As head of the Special Groups, Khazali directed arms smuggling, formation of death squads to participate in sectarian violence, kidnappings, and assassinations, most notably the January 20, 2007 attack on American forces in Karbala. A former follower of Moqtada al-Sadr, he was expelled from the Mahdi Army in 2004 for giving "unauthorized orders" and founded his own group: Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq (AAH) also known as the "Khazali network". During his incarceration Akram al-Kabi became acting commander of the organisation until his release.
Khazali was released in January 2010, in exchange for the release of Peter Moore, who had been kidnapped by Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq. In December that year, notorious special groups commanders Abu Deraa and Mustafa al-Sheibani were allowed to return to Iraq and declared they would be working with Khazali after their return.
- Iraq Asaib al-Haq leader Qais al-Khazali pledges to lay down arms | News | National Post
- Kagan, pp 167, 177.
- Kagan, pp 168-177
- Kevin J. Bergner (2007-07-02). "MULTI-NATIONAL FORCE - IRAQ: Situational Update" (PDF). US Forces in Iraq. pp. 16–17. Retrieved 2011-11-09. Media related to File:US forces in Iraq briefing slides from 2007-07-02.pdf at Wikimedia Commons
- Chulov, Martin (2010-01-03). "Cleric freed in move expected to prompt handover of kidnapped Briton's body". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 January 2010.
- In Iraq, Iran's Special Groups to flourish - UPI.com
- Kagan, Kimberly (2009), The Surge: A Military History, New York, NY: Encounter Books, ISBN 978-1-59403-249-3
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