Senior IS Commander Reported Dead in Syria

Senior IS Commander Reported Dead in SyriaSenior IS Commander Reported Dead in Syria

A commander of the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group has died from injuries sustained in an airstrike in Syria, according to the US military on Monday.

“Omar the Chechen” was the equivalent of the group’s secretary of defense.

The 30-year-old Omar al-Shishani was fatally wounded in an airstrike on a convoy near al-Shadadi in northern Syria, the US defense department added. Shishani succumbed to his injuries following efforts to revive him at a clinic in the IS center of Raqqa. “We believe he subsequently died of his injuries,” Pentagon spokesman, Captain Jeff Davis, told AFP.

Born Tarkhan Batirashvili in 1986 in the remote Pankisi Gorge deep in what is now the former Soviet republic of Georgia, the ethnic Chechen had fought Russian forces in the Caucasus.

He subsequently joined IS and moved up the ranks. US officials had said he was one of the militant group’s most senior operatives rising to become a de facto “minister of war” in the organization. Washington had put a $5 million (4.5 million-euro) bounty on his head.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights had earlier suggested Shishani had been wounded, and not killed, in the airstrike that targeted his convoy.

Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said on Sunday: “Shishani is not able to breathe on his own and is using machines. He has been clinically dead for several days.”

Shishani’s death has been falsely reported several times.