A huge Iranian weightlifter dubbed 'the Hulk' has pledged to take on the Islamic State (Isis) in Syria as a volunteer soldier. The 'Persian Hercules' is planning to head to the terror group's self-declared caliphate alongside the Iranian military, he says.
Sajad Gharibi is said to weigh nearly 24-and-a-half stone and can lift up to 180kg. The 24-year-old has represented his country in bodybuilding competitions and has an online following on social media platform Instagram of 129,000 people.
The man mountain regularly posts shirtless snaps revealing his muscle-bound torso which has drawn comparisons to the famous comic book character — the Hulk. And it was to his followers that he announced that he has volunteered to join Iranian forces fighting the jihadists alongside Bashar al-Assad's Syrian army.
According to 9 News, Gharibi, has been confused for the infamous Daesh (Isis) executioner known as 'The Bulldozer'. The super-sized jihadist has been seen in numerous IS videos beheading captives and carrying anti-aircraft artillery.
On his profile page Gharibi, a devout Muslim, says: "Calming the heart and the life I have faith in God and is infallible Imams" and has said that he wants to "defend Shia Muslim shrines in Syria against IS attackers".
The body-builder puts much of his size down to genetics and he uses tags on his Instagram account saying #strongman #strongbody #big #muscles and #powerful to post images.
On 4 July Iran declared that they will never coordinate with the US other operations in Syria. Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in remarks published on his website that the US-backed The Syria Democratic Forces (SDF) struggled to advance in the embattled IS stronghold of Manbij in Syria.
Iran and Russia both support al-Assad's fight against Islamist armed rebels and jihadists. On Saturday 2 July IS pushed back US-backed forces trying to advance into Manbij for the first time since a major offensive to capture the city cut off the militants' access routes to Turkey and al-Bab in the west.