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Iraq’s 2007 Asian Cup winning captain caught up in ISIS fighting

On the day of the redeployment of Iraqi forces in the province of Kirkuk, Iraq’s heroic 2007 Asian Cup winning captain Younis Mahmoud was trapped on the road leading to Arbil and the city of Kirkuk with his wife and new born son after fleeing from Daiesh (ISIS) fighters who had attacked two villages close to the town of Dibbis where he resided.

After fighting took place near the ex-Iraqi captain’s home town of Al-Dibbis (about 25 miles north-west of Kirkuk) on Monday evening, worried relatives were unable to locate the former Iraqi striker and the commander of Iraq’s rapid response unit sent a search party to find and rescue Younis Mahmoud and his family.

Major General of the 4th Brigade of the Hashad Al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilisation Forces) and the local federal police led a force to find the retired Iraqi national player.

According to the former Iraqi captain’s close friend and ex-Al-Talaba and Iraq U-19 team-mate goalkeeper Akram Sabih, the whole drama occurred after fugitive Daiesh (ISIS) fighters in the liberated area of Al-Hawaija had fled to a part where Peshmerga forces had withdrawn from. After Iraqi forces had redeployed in Kirkuk early on Monday, the Daiesh (ISIS) fighters attacked two villages close to the town of Al-Dibbis. To counter the attacks the area was flooded with the presence of Hashad Shaabi and Iraqi army units who took control of the situation and the road leading to Kirkuk and Arbil where Younis and his wife and new-born son had been caught up in after fleeing the fighting.

The player’s younger brother Omar confirmed that Younis, his wife, his two-week old son and his agent had all returned safely to Al-Dibbis in the night accompanied by Iraq’s rapid response units with a heavy deployment of rapid response units in the district.

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