Wissam Najm Abd Zayd al-Zubaydi
Died13 November 2015
Cause of deathAirstrike
Other namesAbu Nabil al Anbari, Abul Mughirah al Qahtani, Abu Yazan al-Humairi
OrganizationIslamic State
Known forFormer Emir of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in Libya

Wissam Najm Abd Zayd al-Zubaydi, better known by his noms de guerre Abu Nabil al-Anbari (Arabic: أبو نبيل الأنباري‎, romanizedʾAbū Nabīl al-ʾAnbārī), Abul Mughirah al-Qahtani (Arabic: أبو المغيرة القحطاني‎, romanizedʾAbū al-Mughīrah al-Qaḥtānī) or Abu Yazan al-Humairi (Arabic: أبو يزن الحميري‎, romanizedʾAbū Yazan al-Ḥumayrī)[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 in 2008, Abu Nabil spent time in detention in Abu Ghraib prison before being released after a year and a half, upon which he returned to militancy. However, not long after he was released, he was captured and imprisoned again, being detained in Abu Ghraib prison until he was freed in a mass prison break in 2013.[6][7] He would later serve as ISIL's "governor" of Salahuddin Governorate, responsible for the group's operations there, including the attack on the city of Samarra. As the governor of Salahuddin Governorate, he was responsible for overseeing the execution of up to 1,700 Shia Iraqi Air Force cadets in the Camp Speicher massacre. In 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 confirmed al-Anbari's death and launched a series of attacks and bombings across Libya named "the battle of Abu al-Mughira al-Qahtani" in his honour.[13][14] Al-Anbari was succeeded as leader of ISIL in Libya by Abdul Qader al-Najdi.[15]


  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
  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.
  3. ^ a b c 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.
  4. ^ a b Pengelly, Martin (14 November 2015). "Islamic State leader in Libya 'killed in US airstrike'". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 November 2015.
  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.
  6. ^ Al-Tamimi, Aymenn Jawad. "Eulogy to Abu Nabil al-Anbari: Islamic State leader in Libya". aymennjawad.org. Retrieved 19 July 2016.
  7. ^ "Islamic State Gained Strength in Libya by Co-Opting Local Jihadists". The Wall Street Journal. 17 February 2015. Retrieved 13 March 2015.(subscription required)
  8. ^ Paul Cruickshank; Nic Robertson; Tim Lister; Jomana Karadsheh, CNN (18 November 2014). "ISIS comes to Libya - CNN.com". CNN. Retrieved 29 January 2015.
  9. ^ "Abu Nabil Al-Anbari "not killed" in US Derna attack: report". Libya Herald. 15 November 2015. Retrieved 16 November 2015.
  10. ^ "Eulogy to Abu Nabil al-Anbari: Islamic State leader in Libya". Middle East Forum. 7 January 2016. Retrieved 14 January 2016.
  11. ^ "U.S. Airstrike Targets Senior ISIL Leader in Libya". United States Department of Defense. 14 November 2015.
  12. ^ Youssef, Kate Brannen (14 November 2015). "Exclusive: U.S. Targets ISIS in Libya Airstrike". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 14 November 2015.
  13. ^ "Islamic State's Libyan 'province' launches new offensive | FDD's Long War Journal".
  14. ^ "Islamic State claims Libyan police center bombing". reuters.com. Reuters. 8 January 2016.
  15. ^ "New Islamic State leader in Libya says group 'stronger every day'". Reuters. 10 March 2016. Retrieved 10 March 2016.