A photo collage showing a bearded man named Abu Azrael, which translates to Angel of Death, has been going viral across social media in the aftermath of the Paris attacks. The photos show him holding axes, waving swords and firing a bazooka. A sentence in the caption posted with the photos reads, “ISIS won’t even allow you to say his name.”
The caption further claims that the ISIS dreads the mere sight of the “Angel of Death.” He had also allegedly 1,500 confirmed kills in a little over a year, and his fatal weapon is just a sword in his hand or a modified axe. According to the post, Abu Azrael is also a Christian who uses an old-school fighting technique.
However, Snopes.com unveiled that the viral post was somehow sensationalized. While Abu Azrael is indeed a true hero and a true “Angel of Death” for brutally killing ISIS members, his number of kills (1,500) is unverified. Furthermore, he is not a Christian. So much so that it is unknown whether the terrorist group had actually prohibited the mere mention of his name.
According to Snopes, Abu Azarel has been famous since January, way before the Paris attacks. A report around this time says he commands an Iraqi Shia military group. Subsequent reports say he gained attention from people because his philosophy regarding the ISIS is to “illa tahin” or hunt them down and pulverized them.
In March, he made it to headlines after headlines. “The Angel of Death is coming for you, ISIL” Al Jazeera’s headline reads. “Meet The Iraqi ‘angel of Death’ Who fights ISIS” Vocativ’s headlines goes. “The Archangel of Death” Fighting Islamic State, BBC reported at the time.
Abu Azrael had openly spoken about himself in an interview with AFP. The most chilling part was when he shared how he prayed for the capture of an ISIS member who butchered children with axes. When the day finally came and he stood face to face with this man, he said, “I butcher him and make gravy.”
He described himself as a “simple man” with “a simple family, four girls and a boy.”
“You see me go to school to drop off my children and I am peaceful,” he said.
“But I show another face” to the ISIS. Asked for his message to the terrorist group, he said, “I am ready for death, now and later.”