Aside from their first names, what do John Rambo and John Matrix of the movie Commando have in common? They’re both action heroes who single-handedly fought armies to defend or avenge the people they loved.
In movies, we admire characters who are unafraid of stopping wicked men from spreading evil to this world regardless if they’re facing legions. No matter how unrealistic some of the scenes (or the plots) are sometimes, we feel relieved knowing that justice had been rightfully served.
This man—although his story can be compared to a fictional character in a movie or a book—is real.
He is Ayyub Faleh al-Rubaie
Otherwise known as Abu Azrael, which means the Angel of Death
This man has already killed more than 1,500 notorious ISIS members
Like a true superhero, this former university professor left his home in June and joined the war against the militant group when they mercilessly executed some of his students.
According to Al-Alam, an Arabic-language Iranian TV station, he was a PE teacher. However, the BBC and the AFP reported that he was also a highly trained Special Forces veteran who fought American soldiers during the invasion of Iraq.
“You see me go to school to drop off my children and I am peaceful,” said the 40-year-old father of five.“But I show another face to them (ISIS).”
Since then, he single-handedly annihilated ISIS members, sometimes even using guerrilla tactics against them.
On several occasions, people have seen the Angel of Death decapitating extremists’ heads using his sword. He had also suspended, burned, and then sliced a captured terrorist like a Kebab.
As he cut off a dead terrorist’s leg with a curved sword he said,
“ISIS this will be your fate, we will cut you like shawarma (a method of grilling meat on a spit and then shaving it off).”
He and his group of militia shout Illa-Tahin, which means “nothing but flour”. It’s a catchphrase he uses to tell the world he would pulverize ISIS militants until nothing remains of them but powder.
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Azrael, who is a commander of the Ali Imam Brigade, became the poster boy for Shi’a militias who Iran supports. ISIS members reportedly fear him, and sources said the militant group forbids the very mention of his name.
Wielding an axe, a sword, or an assault rifle, militias post his photos and videos on social media to help gain support from the people.
And because of that, many were inspired to join their cause. He has several Facebook fan communities and is somehow regarded as a superhero in Iraq.
Azrael isn’t bothered about his popularity or the fact that the ISIS clearly knows how he looks like. Despite having a prize on his head, he said it “makes him more determined to fight against the group.”