1st Sgt. Malik Jaber wears green cloth from the revered Imam Abbas shrine on his body armor, at a front line position on the southern edge of Fallujah, Iraq. He says he credits the holy object with saving his life when the Special Forces were fighting IS militants in Beiji, the central Iraqi town that is also home to a key oil refinery. “This time it will keep me safe again,” Jaber said, “God willing.” 

The things they carried - Iraqi Special Forces

Elite Iraqi forces share the items they carried with them into battle as they fought to oust Islamic State militants from Fallujah in June 2016. (AP Photos/Maya Alleruzzo)

 1st Sgt. Malik Jaber wears green cloth from the revered Imam Abbas shrine on his body armor, at a front line position on the southern edge of Fallujah, Iraq. He says he credits the holy object with saving his life when the Special Forces were fighting IS militants in Beiji, the central Iraqi town that is also home to a key oil refinery. “This time it will keep me safe again,” Jaber said, “God willing.” 

1st Sgt. Malik Jaber wears green cloth from the revered Imam Abbas shrine on his body armor, at a front line position on the southern edge of Fallujah, Iraq. He says he credits the holy object with saving his life when the Special Forces were fighting IS militants in Beiji, the central Iraqi town that is also home to a key oil refinery. “This time it will keep me safe again,” Jaber said, “God willing.” 

 Sgt. Ahmed Kamel rests during the midday heat at a battle position on the southern edge of Fallujah. He has three tattoos: the name of his brother, Saadi, who was killed by the Mahdi Army in 2008, the name of a comrade, Namar, who was killed fighting the Islamic State group; and the Iraqi flag.

Sgt. Ahmed Kamel rests during the midday heat at a battle position on the southern edge of Fallujah. He has three tattoos: the name of his brother, Saadi, who was killed by the Mahdi Army in 2008, the name of a comrade, Namar, who was killed fighting the Islamic State group; and the Iraqi flag.

 Sgt. Majid Rahim wears a dog tag and a special forces pendant. 

Sgt. Majid Rahim wears a dog tag and a special forces pendant. 

 Sgt. Ahmed Abdelaziz shows an IS video of his brother's death in a mass killing of cadets. Abdelaziz has been almost continually deployed fighting the Islamic State group ever since the militants overran nearly a third of Iraq in the summer of 2014.

Sgt. Ahmed Abdelaziz shows an IS video of his brother's death in a mass killing of cadets. Abdelaziz has been almost continually deployed fighting the Islamic State group ever since the militants overran nearly a third of Iraq in the summer of 2014.

 Pvt. Mustafa Muhammed Saadoun forces shows a wolf's tooth he wears as a good luck charm, after coming back from a day of fighting in Fallujah.

Pvt. Mustafa Muhammed Saadoun forces shows a wolf's tooth he wears as a good luck charm, after coming back from a day of fighting in Fallujah.

 Cpl. Mustafa Saada shows an Islamic prayer book he carries as a good luck charm.

Cpl. Mustafa Saada shows an Islamic prayer book he carries as a good luck charm.