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Iraqis turn to social media for IS coverage

Iraqis are shunning broadcast and print media in favor of social networking sites to spread and follow news about the fighting against the Islamic State.
People surf the Internet at an Internet cafe in Baghdad November 11, 2012. Iraqi telecommunications operators have warned that government plans to charge for the extra spectrum which they need to launch long-awaited 3G services could slow Internet adoption and economic growth. Picture taken November 11, 2012. To match story IRAQ-TELECOMS/  REUTERS/Mohammed Ameen (IRAQ - Tags: BUSINESS TELECOMS SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY SOCIETY) - RTR3ADY5
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BAGHDAD — A video circulating on Facebook in January 2015 brought to Iraqis' attention “Abu Azrael,” a member of the Imam Ali Brigades fighting alongside the Popular Mobilization Units. The video turned the once-unknown fighter into a legendary figure, with Facebook users adopting him as a symbol of the Shiite fighters' struggle against the Islamic State (IS), which controls almost a third of the country.

Abu Azrael, a jovial muscle-bound man, uses comic and fiery language to refer to the extremist organization. His name soon spread in the Iraqi street, with his popularity also raising the profile for the progress of the Iraqi security forces in IS-controlled areas.

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