Umayyah Naji Jabara, an adviser to the governor of Salahuddin and one of the most prominent female politicians in Iraq, was killed this week while leading an attack on the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). The politician is said to have personally taken up a rocket launcher against ISIS after the Iraqi military failed to stop their advance.
According to the UK Telegraph, Jabara left her political position to join those organized to fight ISIS in the province. A local news agency reported that Jabara was killed by a sniper: “A sniper among the terrorists of the ISIS killed her while she was trying, along with tribal elements, to confront an attack by the terrorists in al-Alam district.” Some reports have alleged that Jabara killed three ISIS jihadists with a rocket launcher before being shot by the sniper.
Jabara was the daughter of Sunni political leader Sheikh Naji Jabara, who was killed by Al Qaeda jihadists using a car bomb in 2007. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki issued a statement of condolences to her family, stating, “The name of the martyr Umayyah Naji Jabara has been added today to the chapter of Iraqi immortality.”
Like many Iraqis taking up arms against ISIS, Jabara was reportedly alarmed by the jihadists’ advance through Iraq in the past two weeks. While much of the Iraqi military has been killed in mass executions or deserted their posts, ISIS has been held back by Kurdish peshmerga forces in many instances. While the Kurds and ISIS have something of a stalemate along the borders between sovereign Iraqi territory and Iraqi Kurdistan, peshmerga forces have told reporters that the fight against ISIS has been especially difficult because many jihadists come to Iraq deliberately to die.
While the peshmerga have done much to keep ISIS away from major strongholds that could solidify their control over northern, mostly Sunni Iraq, reports this week indicated that ISIS has made advances in territories both north and south of Baghdad. Kurdish authorities have reported that ISIS jihadists appear to be intending to surround Baghdad and isolate it from the rest of the country. With Baghdad isolated, ISIS jihadists could potentially surround and overthrow the Shi’ite Iraqi government.