A commander of the "Islamic State" has died from injuries sustained in an airstrike in Syria, according to the US military. Omar the Chechen was the equivalent of the group's secretary of defense.
The 30-year-old commander of "Islamic State" (IS) has reportedly died, senior US defense officials said Monday. Omar al-Shishani, known as Omar the Chechen, 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 the AFP news agency.
Georgia's Pankisi Gorge region is populated mainly by ethnic Chechens, some of whom have joined jihadist militias in Syria.
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 had also served in the Georgian military during the 2008 conflict with Russia over the breakaway province of South Ossetia.
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 air strike 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.
jar/jm (Reuters, AFP)