The State Department has added a former Guantanamo detainee, Ayrat Nasimovich Vakhitov, to the US government’s list of designated terrorists. According to press reports, Vakhitov was recently arrested in connection with the terrorist attack at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport. Also designated today is Aslan Avgazarovich Byutukaev, who leads the Islamic State’s forces in Chechnya.
The designations include three jihadists from the Russian Caucasus, including Omar al Shishani’s deputy and a Turkey-based “overseas emissary.” A recruiter from the United Kingdom was also designated.
The US State and Treasury Departments announced 35 designations today. The designations target the Islamic State’s foreign fighters, leaders, “provinces” and other related entities. Several jihadists from the West were included among the designees.
The Islamic Caucasus Emirate (ICE) has lost its third emir in just over a year and half. Magomed Suleimanov, also known as Abu Usman Gimrinsky, was publicly announced as the group’s leader on July 1. Just over a month later, Russian counterterrorism forces killed him.
Salahuddin Shishani, the former emir of the Jaish al Muhajireen wal Ansar who now leads a group of jihadists from the Caucasus in Syria, swore allegiance to the new leader of the Islamic Caucasus Emirate, giving a small boost to a group that has been plagued by defections.
The Islamic Caucasus Emirate (ICE) publicly recognized Muhammad Abu Usman as its new emir earlier this month. The ICE, which is affiliated with al Qaeda, has suffered a string of defections to the Islamic State since last year.
The State Department has added Aliaskhab Kebekov (also known as Ali Abu Muhammad al Dagestani), who heads the Islamic Caucasus Emirate, to the US government’s list of specially designated global terrorists. State notes that Kebekov has proclaimed his organization’s “structural subordination” to al Qaeda.
A newly released video features Said Arakanskiy, the leader of Vilayat Dagestan. Arakanskiy was appointed to that position late last year after his predecessor defected to the Islamic State.