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.
The Ansar al Din Front in Syria has released a statement mourning the death of Harith al Nadhari, a sharia official in al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula who was killed in a US drone strike on Jan. 31. The statement is further evidence that Ansar al Din is, at a minimum, closely allied with al Qaeda’s international network.
Jihadists aligned with al Qaeda’s international network mourned the death of Harith bin Ghazi al Nadhari, a senior AQAP sharia official, shortly after AQAP confirmed that he had been killed in a US drone strike.
Sharia officials from both Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and the Al Nusrah Front, two official branches of al Qaeda, have signed a statement saying that the Islamic State’s ‘caliphate’ is invalid. The statement is addressed to the Caucasus jihadists who announced their allegiance to Abu Bakr al Baghdadi in December.
Rustam Asilderov, the former head of the Islamic Caucasus Emirate’s Dagestan province, swore allegiance to the Islamic State’s Abu Bakr al Baghdadi earlier this month. The move by Asilderov and other jihadists drew harsh criticism from their former superiors.
The US added the Chechen-led Jaish al Muhajireen wal Ansar and the Moroccan-led Harakat Sham al Islam, as well as Murad Margoshvilli, the leader of the Junud al Sham, to the list of Specially Designated Global terrorists. The Margoshvilli and the two terror groups are closely tied to al Qaeda in Syria.
Jamaat Ahadun Ahad, or the Group of the One and Only, is led by a Chechen commander and its fighters include “many Chechens, Turks, Arabs, Europeans, and even several former members of the Taliban.”
The Imam Bukhari Jamaat, which fights alongside the Al Nusrah Front and Jaish al Muhajireen wal Ansar, touted its training camp, which is thought to be located near Aleppo.
Abdul Karim Krymsky, the deputy emir of Jaish al Muhajireen wal Ansar, calls on Muslims in the Crimea and the Ukraine to “start on the path of jihad.”
Sabiri’s Jamaat is led by a Dagestani and includes at least seventy fighters from Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and the Russian Caucasus.
The Azeris fought alongside the Muhajireen Army, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham, or the Al Nusrah Front for the People of the Levant, al Qaeda’s official branch in Syria.
The video includes footage of the building and detonation of a small homemade bomb, as well as exercises in small fire team tactics and an obstacle course.
İMKANDER held large rallies in several Turkish cities to praise Doku Umarov, the emir of the Islamic Caucasus Emirate whose death was announced just last week.
Ali Abu Muhammad al Dagestani quietly served as the senior sharia official for the Islamic Caucasus Emirate for three years before assuming the position of emir after Doku Umarov’s death.
Umarov was rumored to have been killed late last year, but his death has not been confirmed by the Islamic Caucasus Emirate until now.
The emir of al Qaeda’s Al Nusrah Front and a sharia official from the Muhajireen Army confirmed Saifullah al Shishani’s death and noted that he had sworn allegiance to Al Nusrah.
Saifullah al Shishani, a Chechen commander in the ISIS who recently defected to the Al Nusrah Front, reportedly was killed during fighting in Aleppo.
The emir of the “Mujahid Subversive Group of Ansar al Sunnah” said its suicide bombers attacked transportation targets in Volgograd at the end of last year. He also said the group has sworn allegiance to Doku Umarov.
A trolley was demolished in a blast that is thought to have been carried out by a male suicide bomber. The attack is the second suicide bombing in Volgograd in two days.
The bombing, which was likely executed by the Islamic Caucasus Emirate, took place in a region where Russia will host the 2014 Winter Olympics, and is the second suicide attack in Volgograd since October.
The Chechen-led Army of the Emigrants and Helpers in Syria has sworn allegiance to the head of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham. The group is awaiting approval from the head of the al Qaeda-linked Islamic Caucasus Emirate.
Islamist militants affiliated with the Caucasus Emirate appear determined to wreak havoc in advance of Russia’s planned Winter Olympics in Sochi.
Omar al Chechen has formed Jaish al-Muhajireen wa Ansar, or Army of the Emigrants and Helpers, and merged his Muhajireen Brigade with several Syrian jihadist groups.