An Islamic State news agency has confirmed the assassination of Omar al-Shishani, a top ISIS military commander on the U.S. list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists.
An Islamic State-run media outlet says Omar al-Shishani, one of the group’s top military commanders, has been killed in fighting near the Iraqi city of Mosul.
U.S. and Iraqi officials, as well as Syrian activists, said in March that al-Shishani, who was in his 30s, had died of wounds sustained in a U.S. airstrike in Syria.
However, the ISIS-run Aamaq news agency reported Wednesday that al-Shishani was “martyred” in the town of al-Shirqat, near Mosul, while helping to “halt the military campaign” against the ISIS-held city. ISIS supporters published eulogies to al-Shishani on social media and messaging networks.
Aamaq had denied that al-Shishani was killed in March, without providing evidence that he was alive.
A veteran of the 2008 Russo-Georgian War, al-Shishani, whose birth name is Tarkhan Tayumurazovich Batirashvili, was born in the Pankisi Valley, a predominantly ethnic Chechen region within the former Soviet republic of Georgia. He became a jihadist after being discharged from the Georgian military and rose to the upper ranks and served in various senior positions with Islamist rebel groups fighting in the Syrian Civil War.
The U.S. Treasury Department added al-Shishani to its list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists in September 2014. Eight months later, the U.S. State Department Rewards for Justice Program announced a reward up to $5 million for information leading to his capture.
By: AP and World Israel News Staff