Abu Nabil al-Anbari

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Wissam Najm Abd Zayd al-Zubaydi, better known by his noms de guerre Abu Nabil al Anbari (Arabic: أبو نبيل الأنباري‎‎) and Abul Mughirah al Qahtani,[1] was a commander in the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the leader of its Libyan branch. Al-Anbari was killed by a US military airstrike on 13 November 2015.[2][3][4][5]

Abu Nabil al-Anbari was an Iraqi policeman who, following the 2003 invasion of Iraq, joined al-Qaida in Iraq and took part in the Iraqi insurgency. Arrested by American forces, al-Anbari spent time in detention in Abu Ghraib prison.[6] He would later serve as ISIL's "governor" of Salahuddin Governorate, responsible for the group's operations there.[7] In September 2014, ISIL's leadership dispatched him from Iraq to Libya as part of a delegation to gather pledges of allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi from local militants and lead the nascent ISIL branch in the country.[8]

Al-Anbari was killed in a US airstrike outside of Derna, Libya on 13 November 2015.[4] The Libya Herald reported local claims that al-Anbari had not been killed in the airstrike,[9] however a eulogy to Abu Nabil al-Anbari was published online by a member of ISIL some weeks later.[10] In a statement following the strike, Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook said "Abu Nabil's death will degrade [ISIL's] ability to meet the group's objectives in Libya, including recruiting new members, establishing bases in Libya, and planning external attacks on the United States."[11] He added: "Reporting suggests [he] may also have been the spokesman in the February 2015 Coptic Christian execution video," referring to a video which showed the beheading of 21 Egyptian Copts in Libya after their kidnapping in 2015.[3] His killing was the first military action by the United States against an ISIL target outside of Iraq and Syria while still connected to the organization’s core leadership (other militants struck in countries like Nigeria and Afghanistan are not believed by US officials to be directly linked to the Iraq and Syria based leadership).[3][12]

In January 2016, ISIL launched a series of attacks and bombings across Libya named "the battle of Abu al-Mughira al-Qahtani" in his honour.[13] Al-Anbari was succeeded as leader of ISIL in Libya by Abdul Qadr al-Najdi.[14]


  1. "Eulogy to Abu Nabil al-Anbari: Islamic State leader in Libya". International Business Times. 10 March 2016. Retrieved 10 March 2016. Abul-Mughirah al-Qahtani, also known as Abu Nabil al Anbari, a senior Iraqi commander who was killed US air strikes in November 2015<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Statement from Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook on Nov. 13 airstrike in Libya > U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE > News Release View". Defense.gov. Retrieved 2015-12-10.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Ryan, Missy (14 November 2015). "U.S. officials: Chief of Islamic State in Libya thought to be killed in airstrike". The Washington Post. Retrieved 15 November 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 Pengelly, Martin (14 November 2015). "Islamic State leader in Libya 'killed in US airstrike'". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 November 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Masi, Alessandria (8 December 2015). "Russian, European Airstrikes Against ISIS Are Fanning Out The Caliphate To North Africa". International Business Times. Retrieved 2015-12-30.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Islamic State Gained Strength in Libya by Co-Opting Local Jihadists". The Wall Street Journal. 17 February 2015. Retrieved 13 March 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>(subscription required)
  7. "Inside the leadership of Islamic State: how the new 'caliphate' is run". Telegraph.co.uk. 9 July 2014. Retrieved 3 October 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Paul Cruickshank, Nic Robertson, Tim Lister and Jomana Karadsheh, CNN (18 November 2014). "ISIS comes to Libya - CNN.com". CNN. Retrieved 29 January 2015. <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Abu Nabil Al-Anbari "not killed" in US Derna attack: report". Libya Herald. 15 November 2015. Retrieved 16 November 2015. (Subscription required (help)).<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "Eulogy to Abu Nabil al-Anbari: Islamic State leader in Libya". Middle East Forum. 7 January 2016. Retrieved 14 January 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. [U.S. Department of Defense: "U.S. Airstrike Targets Senior ISIL Leader in Libya]" Check |url= value (help). U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE. 14 November 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "Exclusive: U.S. Targets ISIS in Libya Airstrike". The Daily Beast. 14 November 2015. Retrieved 14 November 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. [Libya Feature: Islamic State Claims Bombing That Killed At Least 60 http://eaworldview.com/2016/01/libya-feature-islamic-state-claims-bomb/]
  14. "New Islamic State leader in Libya says group 'stronger every day'". Reuters. 10 March 2016. Retrieved 10 March 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>