An Iraqi fighter known as “the sheikh of snipers” was killed last weekend in a battle with the Islamic State.
Abu Tahsin al-Salhi had been fighting for more than four decades in the region, beginning with the 1973 Arab-Israeli war. He was killed in northwestern Iraq while trying to reclaim the town of Hawija from ISIS fighters, according to the Daily Mail.
Tahsin had a grey beard, wore fingerless gloves, rode an off-road motorbike, and used an Austrian-manufactured Steyr rifle. He fought in as many as five armed conflicts, including Saddam Hussein’s war against Iran in the 1980’s, and again during the invasion of Kuwait in 1990. When US troops came to topple Saddam’s regime in 2003, Tahsin fought against America. As ISIS rose, he quickly turned his sights on them, even going to Syria to fight ISIS there before heading back to Iraq to defend his homeland in 2014.
“This pushes him back a meter before putting him down,” he said, talking about his sniper rifle in a video produced last year. “I’m relaxed, my mind is relaxed. When I get my rotation, I just want to get back here. Last time they gave me a month off and after 12 days I came back.”
In the video, Tahsin and his spotter looked out over a valley and spotted another sniper and his spotter. Peering through his scope, he lined up his shot and pulled the trigger.
“Sweet. Sweet. Sweet. Prayers to Mohammed and his family,” he said, after confirming a kill.
“Today, I gunned down two of them (IS fighters). That’s ridiculous — the minimum for me is four,’ he said.
All told, Tahsin bragged about killing at least 320 ISIS jihadists, with some estimates as high as 350. He had been a member of the Popular Mobilization Forces, which have “a semi-official relationship with Iraqi military and security institutions.”
A funeral was held for Tahsin on Saturday. He was 63 years old.