Red-bearded Georgian IS militant Omar killed
CHECHNYA: A red-bearded Chechen fighter who became the
public face of Islamic State militants has been killed, according to reports. Omar
al Shishani, whose real name is Tarkhan Batirashvili, appeared in propaganda
videos for the extremist group during fighting in Syria and Iraq.
He was originally from Georgia’s Pankisi Valley -
considered a stronghold for militants - and was reportedly killed in Chechnya,
according to the head of the Chechen Republic Ramzan Kadyrov. On his Instagram
page, Kadyrov posted a picture reportedly of the dead militant.
According to the Russian news agency Itar-Tass he
wrote, “Tarkhan Batirashvili, the enemy of Islam who called himself Omar al
Shishani, has been killed, anyone who even thinks about threatening Russia and
the Chechen people.”
In September, IS militants threatened to carry out
attacks in the North Caucasus, an area home to a majority of Muslims that has
experienced attacks from Islamic extremists over the last few years.
Al Shishani, which means Omar the Chechen, is among
hundreds of Chechens considered some of the most ruthless fighters among IS
militants. The 28-year-old is rumoured to have been promoted to military chief
of IS earlier this year.
He fought in the 2008 Russia-Georgia War and was imprisoned
for possessing illegal weapons. After he was released in 2010, he left for
Turkey and later surfaced in Syria in 2013.
There he pledged loyalty to IS chief Abu Bakr al
Baghdadi and played a key role in the seizing of Managh air base in the north
It comes after IS reportedly announced it will begin
minting its own gold, silver and copper coins to remove Muslims from the
"satanic usury-based global economic system", according to the
monitoring agency SITE.