“I pull the trigger. The rifle kicks back as the bullet leaves the barrel. Over a kilometre away the target falls to the ground, dead. His death is good.”
Due to extraordinary feats of courage and daring Muhammed is known affectionately throughout his native Kurdistan as Hama (Muhammad) Rambo or Captain Rambo.
He is a sniper and combat soldier in the Peshmerga forces, the Kurdish army currently fighting the extremist group Islamic State.
Express Newspapers report,
To date he has 260 confirmed jihadist kills to his name and is considered such a threat to IS that the terrorists have placed a large reward on his head, putting a call out over Twitter for his assassination.
It is no surprise, then, that fellow soldiers look at him with discernible admiration. To them he is “qaraman” (a “brave fighter”), someone held in deep respect if not awe.
Born in 1977, Hama Rambo has always been prepared to defend his homeland.
His father, himself a peshmerga sniper fighting Saddam Hussein in the 1970s and 1980s, trained his son how to use weapons.
“When I was young I got very good with a rifle shooting at rabbits and other animals,” he says.
He lived briefly in Norway but returned home to join the fight against IS.“As soon as Da’esh (the derogatory Arabic acronym used for IS) invaded my country (in June 2014) I returned to Kurdistan to destroy this evil,” he says.
Now a lieutenant he serves in Unit 70, one of three brigades formed in 2015 with soldiers belonging to the two main political parties, the KDP and PUK, in an attempt to unify rival Kurdish groups.
With a a well-trimmed goatee, camouflaged army fatigues and designer sunglasses, Hama Rambo epitomises the enigmatic Boys’ Own sharp-shooter.
Hard PVC knee-pads help when kneeling to shoot and, despite the heat of an Iraqi summer, he always wears gloves on both hands: “Needed for gripping the rifle,” he explains in broken but clear English.
Often taciturn but affable, he has the air of a man alone; a predator, a man always ready for action.
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