Lt. Muntathar Ghani had been awake for two days straight, engaged in relentless street fighting against Islamic State jihadists. When the adrenaline started to wear off, he sat down in the front yard of a house, desperate for a rest.
That’s when he saw the car bomb, a white Chevy pickup sheathed in plates of armor, barreling forward.
“I fired two rounds at it, but it kept moving. I knew my weapon would have no effect,” Ghani said. “I shouted, ‘Mufakhakhah! [Car bomb!]’ and ran to the house for cover.”
Ghani, a 22-year-old member of Iraq’s elite Counter-Terrorism Service, was facing what has become Islamic State’s weapon of choice — a poor...