On August 29th Abbas Antar lost his life in a small village north of Tal Afar called Afgani in what has been described as a friendly fire incident with the Iraqi police. This follows on the heels of another Tal Afar ISWAT member who was killed by a ISIS sniper in Mosul recently. With Tal Afar reportedly cleared, ISIS fled north and is now sandwiched between Iraqi security forces to the South and the Kurdish Peshmerga to the North.
Abbas was a long time Tal Afar ISWAT member who served long and hard. This author and many other Green Berets trained and fought alongside him during the war on terror. Abbas participated in Direct Action raids against Al Qaeda and Islamic State of Iraq militants across Northern Iraq including his hometown of Tal Afar and the city of Mosul. As ISIS rose to power and many in the Iraqi security forces threw down their weapons and ran, Abbas and his ISWAT teammates continued to fight. Even after Tal Afar was lost, they saw action in Anbar, Tikrit, Baiji, and Mosul. Despite the dire situations they were in and the lack of support from the Government of Iraq, Tal Afar ISWAT held the line.
Abbas survived long enough to see his home town liberated from ISIS, knowing that his sacrifice was not in vain. He will live on in my memory as a comrade and friend, one of the most solid individuals on the SWAT team who made invaluable contributions to the security of Iraq.
Images courtesy of ISWAT members. Lead photo: Abbas in combat during the battle of Tikrit.