RAQQA, Syria, July 14 (UPI) — The Islamic State confirmed the death of a key official known as “Omar the Chechen” some four months after a U.S. airstrike, but there is lingering doubt over his death.
The IS-associated Amaq news agency said, citing an unspecified military source, Abu Umar al-Shishani was killed during a battle in Shirqat, near Mosul, Iraq. Amaq did not specify when he was killed.
There has been no direct statement from the militant group regarding his death.
In March, the Pentagon said he was killed in a U.S. airstrike in northeastern Syria.
However, CNN reported “U.S. warplanes targeted” Shishani in Iraq in the past few days and the Pentagon is still trying to determine if he is dead.
The fair-skinned, red-bearded native Chechen was born Tarkhan Tayumurazovich Batirashvili and was a popular figure within the militant group. The Georgian national was considered a military advisor to IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Shishani was ranked one of the most-wanted militants. A $5 million reward was offered for information that would have led to his death or capture.