Veteran Iranian militiaman killed fighting Islamic State in Iraq

January 12, 2015 17:57

DUBAI - An Iranian militiaman with a long record of battles in Iraq and Syria has died fighting Islamic State militants in Samarra, a major battleground north of Baghdad, Iranian newspapers reported on Monday.

Mehdi Noruzi, a member of Iran's Basij militia nicknamed 'Lion of Samarra' by his fellow militiamen, was killed on Sunday while "defending the oppressed people of Iraq and holy shrines against revisionist terrorists in Samarra", Fars said.

Samarra is a key front in the war between the fundamentalist Sunni Muslim fighters of Islamic State and Iraq's Shi'ite-led government, which is being helped to stem Islamic State's advance by unspecified numbers of advisers and combatants from Shi'ite Iran.

Last month, an Iranian general was killed by sniper fire in Samarra, where a notable Shi'ite saint, Imam Hassan Askari, is buried.

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