Abu-Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy head of Iraq’s Hashd al-Shaabi or Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), was killed in an early morning U.S. airstrike in Baghdad, Iraq’s official media reported.

Two vehicles near the airport were targeted killing Muhandis, a top leader of the PMF Shia umbrella group which was accused of carrying out extrajudicial killings in Iraq before taking part in anti-Daesh/ISIS operations in the country in 2017.

Who is Abu-Mahdi al-Muhandis?

Jamal Jafaar Mohammed Ali Ebrahimi, known by the alias Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis in Iran, was born in 1954 in Basra. He was an Iraqi-Iranian military commander and politician married to an Iranian woman.

He obtained his bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering in 1977.

He also had a bachelor’s degree in political science and pursued a PhD in the same specialization.

Political life

Muhandis joined the Shia Dawa Party during his high school. Then he had to leave Iraq in 1980.

In 1985, he became a member of the Iran-based Iraqi Islamic Supreme Council and a soldier in the elite Badr Corps, where he went on to serve as the commander until the late 90s.

Fall of Mosul

After establishing the PMF, Muhandis was chosen to be the deputy commander of the forces, that was accused of carrying out extrajudicial killings in Iraq before taking part in anti-Daesh/ISIS operations in the war launched against the terrorist group.

In mid-2014, Daesh/ISIS overran roughly one-third of Iraq, including Mosul.

By late 2017, the Iraqi army — with the help of the U.S.-led military coalition — recovered most if not all the territories lost to the terrorist group.

Muhandis, the founder of Kata’ib Hezbollah militia which is part of the PMF, had a long history of establishing and training radical Iranian militias which made him work as a consultant to Qasim Soleimani, the commander of Quds forces of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, who was also killed in the Friday’s airstrike.

He was among the most active Iraqi figures who started working with Tehran in 2003.

Suppressing demonstrators

Muhandis was involved in ordering members of the Hezbollah Brigade to launch attacks against the anti-government protesters in the recent mass demonstrations in Iraq.

Iraq has been roiled by mass protests since early October over poor living conditions and corruption, forcing Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi to resign.

At least 500 people have been killed and 17,000 injured in the protests, according to Iraq’s High Commission for Human Rights.

Read more: PROFILE - Who is Hashd al-Shaabi leader Abu-Mahdi al-Muhandis?