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.