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 suicide attack at Domodedovo International Airport in Moscow that killed 35 people.
The leader of the al Qaeda-linked Islamic Caucasus Emirate spoke to the media and confirmed he survived a late March raid by Russian commandos that killed 17 terrorists, including the terror group’s deputy commander.
Doku Umarov, the emir of the Islamic Caucasus Emirate, confirmed he was alive and ‘absolutely healthy” in a telephone interview with Radio Free Europe yesterday. Umarov also said he would continue to carry out attacks against Russia.
“There was an operation in which several Mujahideen died,” Umarov said, according to a translation of his interview by Kavkaz Center, a propaganda arm of the Islamic Caucasus Emirate. “My death was announced too. They won’t receive any respite from me. I’m preparing my answer to them. They should expect news from me soon.”
Umarov has yet to release a videotape via Kavkaz Center, as he has done in the past to deny reports of his death.
Despite Umarov’s survival, the March 28 raid in Ingushetia exacted a heavy toll on the top leadership of the Caucasus Emirate. Emir Supyan, Umarov’s second in command, and Umarov’s doctor were among the 17 Caucasus Emirates members killed during the operation. Supyan was a longtime jihadist who fought with the “Islamic Battalion,” the unit comprised of Arab and other foreign fighters.
There also was speculation that Emir Khazmat, the commander of the Riyad-us-Saliheen Martyr Brigade, the terror group’s suicide squad, was killed in the attack but this was not confirmed.
Kavkaz Center denied that the raid targeted a suicide camp, but instead said the base was used by Supyan for “training ordinary new recruits.”
“The base in Upper Alkun was under the responsibility of Emir Supyan and was only one of the centers for training ordinary new recruits, and had nothing to do with the Martyr Brigade Riyad-us-Saliheen which is responsible for martyrdom attacks in Russian enemy heartland,” Kavkaz Center claimed.
Russian security forces have been hunting Umarov and other top leaders of the Caucasus Emirates for years. Umarov and Khazmat have masterminded some of the most deadly terror attacks in Russia and the Caucasus republics. Umarov and Khazmat claimed credit for the deadly Jan. 24, 2011 suicide attack at Domodedovo International Airport in Moscow that killed 35 people and wounded scores more. Umarov also claimed responsibility for the March 29, 2010 suicide attack by two female bombers that killed 39 people in the Moscow metro.
Several times in the past, Umarov has been rumored to have been killed, but he has later appeared on videotapes to confirm he was alive. [See LWJ reports, US designates Caucasus Emirate leader Doku Umarov a global terrorist, and Caucasus Emirate leader thought killed in raid.]
For more information on the Islamic Caucasus Emirate and its war with Russia, see LWJ report, 35 killed in suicide attack at Moscow airport.
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