Qais Khazali

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Qayis Khazali
Born 1974[1]
Sadr City, Baghdad, Iraq
Arrested 2007-03-20
Basra, Iraq
US forces
Released 2010-01
Baghdad, Iraq
Citizenship Iraqi
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.[2] 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.[3][4] 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.[5]

Khazali was released in January 2010, in exchange for the release of Peter Moore, who had been kidnapped by Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq.[6] 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.[7]