From left to right: Khamzat, the commander of the Riyad-us-Saliheen Martyr Brigade; Doku Umarov, the leader of the Caucasus Emirate; and Saifullah, the suicide bomber of the deadly Jan. 24, 2011 suicide attack at Domodedovo International Airport in Moscow that killed 35 people.
Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula released a statement over the weekend that eulogized Doku Umarov, the former emir of the Islamic Caucasus Emirates, the al Qaeda-linked group that operates in Russia’s Caucasus region.
The SITE Intelligence Group, which obtained and translated the statement, reported that “[w]hile the statement from AQAP is dated April 15, it was not released on jihadi forums until June 21, 2014.”
“The group [AQAP] praised Umarov and fighters in the Caucasus in general for offering a ‘model of sacrifice and giving’ and a school of jihad whose generations continue to support Islam and defend the sanctities,’ and prayed that God enable them victory over their enemy,” SITE continued in a summary of the statement.
AQAP described Umarov, who was killed sometime late last year or earlier this year, as “the emir of the mujahideen in the Caucasus” and a “mujahid knight.” AQAP also asked “Allah to bless the efforts of our mujahideen brothers in the Caucasus.”
AQAP is far from the first al Qaeda-linked jihadist group to eulogize Umarov. Long before the Islamic Caucasus Emirate confirmed Umarov’s death, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and the Global Islamic Media Front, a jihadist media group linked to al Qaeda, offered condolences to Umarov’s followers. AQIM released its statement on Feb. 2, 2014, and GIMF released its statement on Jan. 19, 2014.
After Umarov’s death was officially announced by the Islamic Caucasus Emirate on March 18, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham (April 3), the Turkistan Islamic Party (April 30), and Shabaab (May 14) all released statements that lamented his death.