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Veteran Iranian militiaman killed fighting ISIS in Iraq

Mehdi Noruzi, a member of Iran’s Basij militia nicknamed ‘Lion of Samarra’ by his fellow militiamen, was killed on Sunday

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An Iranian militiaman with a long record of battles in Iraq and Syria has died fighting ISIS militants in Samarra, a major battleground north of Baghdad, Iranian newspapers reported on Monday.

Mehdi Noruzi, a member of Iran’s Basij militia nicknamed ‘Lion of Samarra’ by his fellow militiamen, was killed on Sunday while “defending the oppressed people of Iraq and holy shrines against revisionist terrorists in Samarra,” Fars said.

Samarra is a key front in the war between the fundamentalist Sunni Muslim fighters of Islamic State and Iraq’s Shiite-led government, which is being helped to stem ISIS’ advance by unspecified numbers of advisers and combatants from Shiite Iran.

Last month, an Iranian general was killed by sniper fire in Samarra, where a notable Shiite saint, Imam Hassan Askari, is buried.