Russia Claims to Have Killed Islamic State ‘Emir’ in Dagestan

Islamic State

Russia’s FSB security service claimed on Sunday to have killed Rustam Magomedovich Aselderov, the head of an ISIS-aligned militant group in Dagestan, along with four of his close associates.

Radio Free Europe notes that Aselderov pledged his loyalty to Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in December 2014, under the name “Sheikh Abu Mohammad al-Qadari.” He was named “emir” of the North Caucasus region by ISIS.

The FSB named Aselderov as the mastermind behind suicide bomb attacks in Volgograd that killed 34 people in 2013, two car bombings that killed 14 people in 2012, and an attempt to launch an attack using female suicide bombers on Red Square in Moscow on New Year’s Eve of 2010.

A reward of 5 million rubles (about $78,000) was offered by Russia for information on his whereabouts. Radio Free Europe said it was not immediately clear if an informant gave up his location in exchange for the reward money.

Aselderov was sanctioned as a “foreign terrorist fighter” by Washington in 2015.

Sky News notes that “many of those fighting with IS in places like Syria and Iraq come from the North Caucasus,” but it is not known if Aselderov was actively recruiting fighters for ISIS operations in other parts of the world.

Aselderov was surrounded by FSB and Ministry of Interior forces at a residence near Dagestan’s capital city of Makhachkala late on Saturday. After negotiations for his surrender broke down, Aselderov and his associates fired on government forces with automatic weapons. Russian state outlet claims that “none of the officers taking part in the operation were injured.” posted some raw video of the shootout:

CNN cites the FSB’s report that “officials seized automatic weapons, large quantities of ammunition and explosives from the site.”


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