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Jamaat Ansar al-Sunna
جماعة أنصار السنة
Participant in Iraq War, Iraqi insurgency
Active September 2003 – Present
Leaders Abu Abdullah al-Shafi'i
Mullah Krekar
Area of
Gaza Strip
Allies Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
Al-Qaeda in Iraq
Opponents Mahdi Army

Jamaat Ansar al-Sunnah (Arabic language: جماعة أنصار السنهJama‘at ‘Anṣār as-Sunnah, "Assembly of the Helpers of Sunnah"), formerly Jaish Ansar al-Sunna, is one of the many groups that is battling the forces of the Shia led Nouri al-Maliki government. The group adheres to mainstream Wahabbism. The group is based in northern and central Iraq, and includes mostly Iraqi (Both Sunni Arab and Sunni Kurdish) fighters. The group was founded in September 2003 as an umbrella organization for guerrillas, with former members of Ansar al-Islam, with members currently residing in Iran after a 2003 joint operation by Iraqi and US forces forced them to flee Iraq.[1] This date coincides with the first released message from the group stating their existence, on September 20. Their goal is to expel U.S. occupation forces from Iraq. Ansar al-Sunna is thought to have links with organizations operating in Iraq including, the formerly Abu Musab al-Zarqawi backed, Jama'at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad (al-Qaeda in Iraq). In October 2004 Ansar al-Sunna released a video beheading of a Turkish truck driver on its website. The kidnappers on the video identified themselves as members of al-Tawhid wal (Source: MERIA). Initially the United States and Iraqi Interim governments reportedly linked Ansar al-Sunna to al-Qaeda. However a letter[2][3] intercepted by the American military in January 2007 exposes violent conflict between the two groups. Following the twin Sunni and Shiite uprisings of the spring and summer of 2004, and the subsequent decrease in U.S patrols and the creation of "no-go" areas in the Sunni Triangle, Ansar al-Sunna was believed to be part of a loose coalition of insurgent groups (also including guerrillas from al-Tawhid wal) controlling the Sunni cities of Fallujah, Ramadi, Samarra, and Baquba (U.S. offensives later largely wrested control from Baquba, Fallujah, and Samarra, although underground guerrilla resistance forces still have a strong presence in those cities).

In July 2007 representatives of the Jaish Ansar al-Sunna were instrumental in forming an alliance of Sunni militant groups to prepare for the withdrawal of American and allied forces.[4] The new alliance is composed of seven groupings explicitly excluding al-Qaeda and the Baath-party. This delimitation reveals a growing split between al-Qaeda and Ansar al-Sunna over tactics, alleged attacks on Iraqi Shia civilians being a main point of difference.

The same year Ansar al-Sunnah formally acknowledged the organizations origins, and changed their name to this.[5]

Suicide bombings

Jaish Ansar al-Sunna has claimed responsibility for several suicide bombings in Iraq, including the devastating attacks on the offices of two main Kurdish political parties, KDP and PUK, in Irbil on February 1, 2004, that killed at least 109 people. The strikes were one of the bloodiest attacks launched by insurgents since the start of the war. It has produced tapes and CDs that mark the "last testaments" of six bombers from previous attacks, three of whom appear non-Iraqi. Its name also appeared with eleven other insurgent groups on leaflets passed out in the Sunni Triangle cities of Ramadi and Fallujah from January 31, 2004 to February 1, 2004. The leaflets detail the insurgency's plan for seizing Iraqi cities following the departure of coalition forces. It also has a strong presence in Mosul were it launched an offensive in November 2004 along with other foreign fighters and militant groups. After the Battle of Mosul (2004) the group maintained pockets of resistance in the western part of the city. It continued to clash with units such as the 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment and it claimed responsibility for a major suicide bombing of the dining hall at the US base in Mosul on December 21, 2004 that killed 14 US soldiers, 5 US citizen Halliburton employees and 5 Iraqi soldiers. The attacker was reportedly a suicide bomber wearing an explosive vest under the uniform of an Iraqi security officer. The suicide bomber's name was Abu Museli.

Militant actions

Ansar al-Sunna was one of three groups responsible for the kidnapping of foreigners in Iraq in 2004 and the subsequent broadcasting of their beheading via the Internet. In two of the videos, "The Emir" is heard warning Iraqis not to deal with US forces. The voice threatens to kill and send to Hell all who disobey. Ansar al-Sunna is also among the most active users of IEDs against coalition forces, a fact testified to by the numerous videos released of IED attacks claimed by the group. [1]

These are some of the attacks which they have claimed to have carried out:



  • 14th - A Car bomb outside the Turkish embassy in Baghdad which killed one innocent bystander.


  • 20th - A car bomb attack on the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan headquarters in Kirkuk which killed six.
  • 29th - An Ambush against two vehicles, killing 7 Spanish Intelligence officers. The militants directly credit the Hamzah Sariyah Squadron of the al-Mansurah brigade, and say they retrieved 3 automatic weapons and a videocamera from the wreckage of the vehicles.



  • 31st - The bombing of the al-Taqafah police center in Mosul, killing nine.


  • 1st - parallel suicide bombings of Id-celebrations arranged by main Kurdish partiesKDP and PUK in Arbil. 109 dead.
  • 23rd - Bombing the Rahimawa police station in Kirkuk, killing 13.


  • 9th - Launched Katyusha rockets at the Kirkuk airport.
  • 28th - Claimed to have killed 8 Intelligence officers from Britain and Canada, though neither country recognized this claim as valid. Al-Sunna then later showed the identity cards of the victims on a video recording, which was met by silence from both countries.


  • 25th - Released a videotape of the beheading of a second alleged CIA agent
  • 31st - Released the execution of 12 Nepalese hostages videotape who had come to work for contractors in Iraq after the war; one was beheaded, the remaining eleven were shot in the back of the head. After the execution, the Nepalese burnt the mosque in Kathmandu to protest the killing.


  • 16th - Claimed to have killed three Iraqis


  • 2nd - Released a videotape of the beheading of an Iraqi named Barie Nafi'a Daoud Ibrahim, accused of collaboration with the enemy.
  • 22nd - Released a videotape of the beheading of an Iraqi named Seif Adnan Kanaan, accused of collaboration with the enemy.
  • 28th - Released a videotape of the killing of 11 captured members of the Iraqi National Guard; one was beheaded, the remaining ten were shot in the back of the head.


  • 4th - Released a videotape of the beheading of a captured officer of the new Iraqi Army working in tandem with the US Army, Hussein Shunun. Shunun had been captured by the group in Mosul a few days earlier


  • 21st - Suicide bomber dressed as an Iraqi soldier detonates in the mess hall of US camp Marez in Mosul while dozens of soldiers were dining. The death toll was 24 including, 14 American soldiers, 5 American contractors, and 5 Iraqi soldiers. Ansar Al-Sunna claimed the bomber was a local man from Mosul and had been working in the base for some time.



  • 9th - They announced the kidnapping of a Japanese man, Akihiko Saito, who was working for British Security Contractor Hart GMSSCO. The militants reported that he had been injured in a fierce gun battle near the Iraq-Syrian Border, but did not initially offer photos or video of him until doubts surfaced, then released a video of his corpse. The militants claimed that he died of his wounds.


  • 5th - They claim to have killed eight US Marines in a shoot-out in Haditha, though the US claims the number is only six.



  • 18th - Ansar al-Sunna announced it had executed several "homosexual transvestites" who they claimed were "not in accordance with the prophet Muhammad's teachings". The bodies were found decapitated days later in the Tigris river.[citation needed]



  • 18th - Ansar al-Sunna kills two men who are accused of apostasy for working with the Iraqi government. The released video [6] shows one badly beaten man confessing, and another singing a nasheed, an Arabic song, before both are shot in the back of the head.[7]



  • 18th - A Gaza based faction of the group claimed responsibility in a rocket attack from Gaza that landed in Israel, killing a Thai worker. The attack was said to be in response for the "Judaization" of sites both holy to Jews and Muslims.[8]


  • 18 - The group on Thursday posted a Hebrew-language threat on the Internet, pledging revenge for the killing of two militants in an Israeli air strike on Gaza City a day earlier. The 30-second clip, in which a man speaks in heavily-accented Hebrew, was posted on an Islamist website which contains references to Gaza. At the end of the clip, the speaker identifies himself as belonging to "Ansar al-Sunna in Al-Quds".[9]


  • MIPT Terrorism Knowledge Base (2006) "Ansar al-Sunnah Army"

See also

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