News / Middle East

    US: IS Commander 'Omar the Chechen' Has Died

    FILE - Islamic State commander Omar al-Shishani (C), aka Omar the Chechen, is seen in an image made from undated video posted June 28, 2014, on a social media account frequently used for communications by the jihadist group.
    FILE - Islamic State commander Omar al-Shishani (C), aka Omar the Chechen, is seen in an image made from undated video posted June 28, 2014, on a social media account frequently used for communications by the jihadist group.
    Ken Bredemeier

    The United States says that a top Islamic State commander known as Omar the Chechen has died from injuries he suffered a week ago when an American airstrike targeted him in Syria.

    U.S. defense officials at first said that Omar al-Shishani, a fierce battle-hardened warlord with a thick red beard, had been killed along with 12 other Islamic State fighters in the attack on a meeting of jihadists.  Later, they said he survived the airstrike but died Monday.

    Shishani, the nom de guerre for Tarkhan Batirashvili, had a reputation as one of Islamic State's most capable commanders, with the U.S. having put a $5 million bounty on his head.  U.S. officials described him as the "equivalent of the secretary of defense" for the jihadists.

    He fought as a Chechen rebel against Russian forces before joining the Georgian military in 2006 and then battled Russian troops again in 2008.

    Four years later, he surfaced in Syria as a leader of a battalion of foreign fighters. As the Islamic State group emerged in Syria in 2013, he was named the jihadists' commander for the northern part of the country.   

    The U.S. Defense Department said that he led Islamic State fighters in many battles in Syria and Iraq and had overseen the group's prison in Raqqa, the Islamic State's self-declared capital in northern Syria.

    You May Like

    US, Somalia Launch New Chapter in Relations

    US sends first ambassador to Somalia in 25 years; diplomatic presence and forces pulled out in 1993, after 18 US soldiers were killed when militiamen shot down military helicopter

    Brexit Vote Ripples Across South Asia

    Experts say exit is likely to have far-reaching economic, political and social implications for a region with deep historic ties to Britain

    Russian Military Tests Readiness With Snap Inspections

    Some observers see surprise drill as tit-for-tat response to NATO’s recent multinational military exercises in Baltic region

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Daniel from: Seattle
    March 15, 2016 12:38 PM
    It's not the flags that say "death to America" that bother me so much as it is the armies that march beneath them. In consideration of all of them, I'd prefer this one particular "leader" were still alive to see all the soldiers in his army dead. Something like that might convince me that what America is engaged in militarily is more than a farce of symbolic gestures for the press to cheerlead about while our enemies line up to take ever-increasingly large chunks out of our rear-ends. Celebrating one dead islamist...is that supposed to inspire confidence?

    by: Kafantaris
    March 15, 2016 11:11 AM
    No mercy and no regrets for these animals. They have none for us.

    by: OldNassau from: Florida, USA
    March 15, 2016 10:45 AM
    I believe Omar al Sishani is the thirty-seventh (or thereabouts) senior( or major or top) commander (or leader or warlord) killed by the hundredth (or two or three) airstrike (manned or launched or drone). Really made a big difference.
    In Response

    by: Raleigh from: USA
    March 15, 2016 10:12 PM
    Meanbill; Just because you didn't know who he was doesn't mean the rest of us don't.
    In Response

    by: Raleigh from: USA
    March 15, 2016 10:11 PM
    A difference here is that Omar the Chechen was a very visible, well known leader versus some of the others that have been targeted.
    In Response

    by: meanbill from: USA
    March 15, 2016 12:10 PM
    Ignoring the Obama propaganda, what if any difference did the killing of "Omar the Chechen" make in the worldwide war against tens of thousands of other terrorists? .. Omar the Chechen was just another unknown unheard of sub-leader of a terrorist group, until the US said he was somebody important? .. In the whole wide world of tens of thousands of terrorists, what will his death really make, if any? .. Since Obama became president the terrorists have expanded worldwide with a Caliphate and become a real world power now? .. And Obama brags about killing some unknown unheard of ISIL terrorist sub-leader?

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Testing Bamboo as Building Materiali
    X
    June 27, 2016 9:06 PM
    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapides’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora