Chechen ISIS leader slams Al Nusrah Front for killing Moroccan commander

Omar al Shishani, a Chechen who serves as a senior military commander for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham, verbally attacked the Al Nusrah Front for the People of the Levant, al Qaeda’s branch in Syria, for killing a Moroccan military commander.

Omar’s statement was made in a martyrdom video for Abu Usama al Maghribi, a Moroccan who served as a front line commander for the ISIS, according to the SITE Intelligence Group, which obtained and translated the video. The ISIS accused a member of the Al Nusrah Front of killing Abu Usama, and Omar said that Abu Usama had previously saved the life of his killer.

“This person was a commander in the Front of Defeat; and it is not the Front of Victory [a play on the name Al Nusrah Front] at all. This is the person who Abu Usama saved, and his reward was to be killed treacherously!” Omar stated, according to SITE.

The ISIS and the Al Nusrah Front have been engaged in fighting against each other on the ground as well as on the Internet since the ISIS’ emir, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, attempted to subsume Al Nusrah in April 2013. Al Qaeda’s General Command disowned the ISIS earlier this year after the latter refused to submit to sharia courts for arbitration.

Moroccans are known to fight for the ISIS (in both Iraq and Syria), the Al Nusrah Front, and other independent groups. Earlier this week, the ISIS identified three Moroccans who died in suicide attacks in the group’s “Southern Division” in Iraq. Moroccans are also likely among the seven “al Maghrebis” who conducted suicide attacks over the past half year in the ISIS’ Baghdad Division.

And last week, the Islamic Caucasus Emirate announced that Ibrahim Bin Shakaran, a Moroccan who spent more than three years at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility before being freed, has been killed while leading Sham al Islam in fighting in Latakia. Sham al Islam is based in Latakia and is comprised primarily of fighters from Morocco. Bin Shakaran had run a recruiting network for Abu Musab al Zarqawi after the US turned him over to Morocco, which subsequently freed him.

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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