Russian forces kill al Qaeda’s envoy to the Islamic Causasus Emirate


Muhannad. Image from Kavkaz Center

Russian security forces killed a Saudi who commanded the foreign fighter contingent in the Islamic Caucasus Emirate and served as a key link to al Qaeda.

The commander, who is known as Muhannad, was killed by Russia counterterrorism forces during a raid yesterday in Chechnya. His death was confirmed by Kavkaz Center, a propaganda arm of the Islamic Caucasus Emirate.

Muhannad, who is also known as Yusuf Mohammed al Emirat, was a Saudi citizen who entered Chechnya in 1999, according to Kavkaz Center. “Before arriving in Chechnya Mohannad participated in the jihad in Bosnia, Kosovo, the Philippines and Afghanistan,” Kavkaz Center stated.

Muhannad fought in Chechnya with the “Islamic Battalion,” the unit comprised of Arab and other foreign fighters. It is also known as the International Islamic Battalion. The senior leaders of the Islamic Battalion include al Qaeda commander Ibn al Khattab (killed in 2002); Abu al Walid (killed in 2004); and Abu Hafs al Urduni (killed in 2006). Muhannad was appointed the commander of the International Islamic Battalion after Urduni’s death. In that role, he served as a key link to al Qaeda’s central command.

Muhannad also served as the “Deputy Military Emir” of terrorist forces in Chechnya, according to Kavkaz. As the deputy military emir in Chechnya, he also commanded local Chechen forces.

Russian officials told CNN that Muhannad was “directly involved in virtually every suicide terrorist attack committed in the Russian Federation over the past few years.”

Muhannad was one of two commanders led a group of Islamic Caucasus Emirate fighters during the Aug. 29, 2010 assault on the village of Tsentoroi, the birthplace of Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov. Police ultimately defeated the assault after several hours of heavy fighting. Twelve fighters and five policemen were killed during the clash.

In the summer of 2010, Muhannad was the center of a controversy surrounding the resignation of Doku Umarov, the emir or leader of the Islamic Caucasus Emirate. Muhannad and three other commanders are said to have pressured Umarov to resign, but Umarov later retracted his resignation.

Umarov accused Muhannad of being “the main organizer of fitna (split/discord) among the Mujahideen in the Province of Nokhchicho (AKA Chechnya / Ichkeria)” and called for him to re-affirm his allegiance. Umarov is said to have relieved Muhannad from command, but the Arab fighter continued to fight in Chechnya.

Muhannad is the second senior leader of the Islamic Caucasus Emirate killed by Russian forces in the past month. On March 28, Russian commandos killed Emir Supyan, the deputy emir of the Islamic Caucasus Emirate.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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  • george leonard says:

    is the correct name chechnyna or is it the I.C.E.?

  • Tyler says:

    Worth noting that Serdar Elbassa, the Fu Manchu-looking Al Qaeda operative arrested in Turkey in January of 2010 along with scores of other suspects, was one of Muhannad’s direct deputies.
    And as Bill and others noted at the time, many Islamic Caucasus Emirate leaders have been killed or captured since Elbassa’s arrest, including Muhannad’s boss Ali Taziyev, the overall military commander of the ICE.

  • chris says:

    Russian forces did a good job!

  • Graham says:

    While I suppose this is a positive development, I do not support Putin’s genocide in the Caucasus.

  • Infidel4LIFE says:

    Russia has the enemy right on the border, inside Russia also. Hey, watever it takes to get it done. I’ll drink to this swine’s death.

  • ArneFufkin says:

    @Graham: While I suppose this is a positive development, I do not support Putin’s genocide in the Caucasus.
    That makes no sense. Please elaborate if you would.
    If Putin is waging a genocide, wouldn’t this man be a hero in your world view?

  • Tyler says:

    You think its possible to detest both indiscriminate shelling of cities AND sending teenage girls to blow up kindergarteners?

  • Vito says:

    @Tyler … I detest both if this is an answer you implied … but I have some reservation as to how characterize the nature of both of Russian campaigns in 1995 and 2000 … Russian state never had high regard for the lives of their citizens and thus the outcome of those wars when thousands perished regardless of their ethnicity, whereas in 81,000 civilians casualties of war 1995 were majority non-Chechen population left unable to leave in face of Russian attacks on Grozny when most Chechen despite the claims on liberal propaganda were evacuated to mountainous part of Chechnya by their traditionally large extended families … also, worth to mention, which category do you put criminal violence by ethnic lines against non-Chechen population before 1994 with silent approval of most Chechen and their leadership at that time (it even all well-documented by russian human organization rights “Memorial”, which by no means can be called pro-Russian) – is a form of genocide or ethnic cleansing too often ignored by the Western media? … so, in a way Russian involvement was inevitable, we should rather discuss how it was supposed to be conducted, not whether it was wrong or right …

  • Neonmeat says:

    You all have valid points, this is one of those conflicts however where both sides have committed horrific atrocities against their enemies so I do not think either side can be seen as ‘the good guys’ nor should we try to see them as such.
    Ethnic persecution is still rife in Chechnya now, again by both peoples, a good website if ‘The Caucasian Knot’ for info on this area.

  • Vito says:

    Neonmeat … excellent point, 100% agree with you …

  • Mohmad says:

    Vito please stop using Chechen for your personal vendetta. You do not care one bit about us and only using us for whatever nonsense you have with Russia.


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