The Iraqi military is proud of one soldier in particular, dubbed the Lion of Mosul, after he risked his life to gather intelligence that provided Iraqi officers with key information, and the fearless fighter is being called a hero.
According to reports, special forces soldier Mohammed Qasim, 25, went on a perilous mission behind Islamic State lines. As his country battled for control of Mosul, Qasim was gathering important information, including the location of ISIS positions and key sniper and machine gun teams. The “lion” also shot and killed six enemy fighters during the battle of Mosul.
Qasim was able to infiltrate the ISIS group by disguising himself as a “fanatic”, leading them to think he was one of them. As the military forces clashed amid the ruins of Mosul’s Old City during the final days of the northern Iraq fight, Qasim made a move to blend in with ISIS soldiers, trading his M4 rifle for an AK-47 and changing into a smock and scarf.
Behind enemy lines, he and a partner noted vital positions and the locations of ammunition. He also killed six of the enemy combatants before returning to his own side to brief his commanders.
According to reports, Iraqi special forces ground troops then hit ISIS fighters with mortar bombs and air strikes, and launched an infantry attack.
Qasim was honored by senior Iraqi officers, who applauded his actions.
“We are all very proud of what this soldier did,” General Abdul Wahab al-Saadi said. “He is a very brave man. He makes us all hold our heads up high.”
His actions have been hailed as “incredibly brave,” with one source stating that commanders concerned about their men being pinned down by IS fire approved the undercover operation. The source called it “probably the most audacious of the entire operation, and Mohammed said he would do it, without a thought for his own safety,” according to The Mirror.
The battle of Mosul was close to nine months long. At its conclusion, reports emerged that IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had been killed.
After his acts of heroism, Qasim was promoted to the rank of lieutenant.
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