by Florian Flade
Commander Muhannad aka “Abu Anas”
Russia´s National Anti-Terrorist Committee released a statement today saying special forces killed a Saudi al-Qaida terrorist in a raid on Thursday near the Chechen village of Serzhen-Yurt. Authorities claim the killed terrorist – known as Commander Muhannad – was a member of the Caucasus Jihadi leadership and worked as al-Qaida´s emissary to the Chechen rebels.
Meanwhile the “Islamic Emirate of the Caucasus”, the most famous rebel group operating in the North Caucasus, has confirmed the death of Commander Muhannad, praising him as an “Arab volunteer”. Allegedly Muhannad also known as “Abu Anas” was killed alongside a Ingush national in a firefight with security forcesin Serzhen-Yurt near the village of Avtury.
Commander Muhannad came to Chechnya in 1999 and was one of those foreign fighters trained under the leadership of Emir Khattab. Prior to his time in the Caucasus, the Saudi militant had spent time in Afghanistan, Bosnio, Kosovo and the Philippines, fighting Jihad. In the Caucasus, he was one of several Arab fighters serving first under Emir Khattab, later under his sucsessors Abu Walid and Abu Hafs. Muhannad became Deputy Military leader of the Islamic Emirate in the Causasus in 2007.
To label him a al-Qaida associate because of his Arab origin might be exaggeration. He was one of the last Arab Jihadis fighting against the Russian state and its allies in the Caucasus.
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Tagged Abu Anas, Caucasus, Chechnya, commander, Dokku, Doku, Dschihad, Florian Flade, getötet, Islamic Emirate Caucasus, Jihad, Kaukasus, killed, Kommander, militant, Mohannad, Muhannad, North, Russia, Russian security, special forces, terrorist, terroristen, Tschetschenien, Umarov, Umarow, village
Colleague Aaron Zelin wrote a very interesting article for “The Atlantic” on the latest developments within the Caucasian Jihadi Movement of the “Islamic Emirate of the Caucasus”. Just as it seemed a new surge in violence in Chechnya, Ossetia, Dagestan and other places of the Caucasus is about to drive the region into the next war, the Islamist rebel movements officially led by Dokku Umarov, is facing internal fighting over the leadership question.
Umarov´s leadership is threatened by opponents working as the regional or Wilayat commanders of the “Islamic Emirate of the Caucasus”. Some of those regional Jihadi leaders refused to swear the ba´yat (oath) to a new leader shortly after Dokku Umarov himself declared he would resign as the Emir of the Islamic Emirate of the Caucsus back in July. Successors started to fight on who is about to lead the Jihad against the regional Pro-Russian forces – the movement since then is shaken by lack of unity.
Read more about this fitnah in the Caucasian Jihadi Movement in Aaron´s piece “Jihadists in Crisis” here.
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Tagged Aaron Zelin, Caucasus, Chechnya, Dagestan, Dokku Umarov, Dokku Umarow, Dschihad, fighting, Islamic Emirate Caucasus, jihadi, Jihadist, Kaukasus, militants, Ossetia, Russia, Russland, terrorist, Tschetschenien