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IS Says It Executed Woman Who Spied for Russia

FILE - Russian special forces run an anti-terrorist operation in Makhachkala, Dagestan, Jan. 20, 2014. The North Caucasus province has been feeding fighters to IS, officials say; Elvira Karayeva, shot by IS, was from Karachaevo-Cherkessia in the North Caucasus.

The Islamic State (IS) group has announced it executed a native of the North Caucasus, whom it accused of spying for the Russian intelligence services.

What makes the case unusual is that the alleged spy was a woman.

The execution was covered in the latest issue of Istok (The Source), the terrorist organization’s Russian-language propaganda magazine. It reported that Elvira Karayeva, also known Sumaya among extermist Islamists, was convicted of spying for Russia’s special services and was executed in Syria.

According to Russian media reports, Karayeva, 28, was born in Karachaevo-Cherkessia, a republic in Russia’s North Caucasus, and was an ethnic Karachay, a Turkic-speaking group.

In 2013, Karayeva, along with her teenage daughter, went to Syria to join the militants. Before leaving Russia, she was reportedly married four times to members of the Islamist armed underground in the Caucasus. All of her husbands were either killed by Russian security services or died under unclear circumstances.

All accusations denied

The Istok article claims Karayeva was under surveillance by “the security services of the Caliphate” from the moment she arrived in Syria because she was already suspected of having links with Russia’s special services.

The IS magazine says she was repeatedly questioned but categorically denied all accusations. However, after IS in Syria received an audio recording from their counterparts Ingushetia, another North Caucasus republic, proving she was working for the Russia’s Federal Security Services (FSB), Karayeva admitted “all crimes,” Istok writes. She was shot in the head by one of the IS “mujahideen,” after which her body was “thrown in a garbage dump,” the article states.

IS claims Karayeva betrayed a large number of Islamist militants in the North Caucasus to the FSB, and the group says it was able to obtain evidence of seven such cases. The Istok article includes several photos of jihadists it says were “victims” of Karayeva’s “treachery.” The magazine claims she personally poisoned her last husband, an Islamist who had sworn allegiance to IS.

The Russian special services have not responded to the reports that Karayeva was executed.

While the case of Elvira Karayeva marks the only time the Islamic State’s Russian-speaking wing has announced it executed a woman, IS routinely puts women to death.

Another execution

Nor does Karayeva’s case represent the first time that IS has executed an alleged Russian spy: Four months ago, the group posted a video online of the execution of a young man from Chechnya, also in Russia's North Caucasus, whom it accused of being an FSB spy.

The video was uploaded to the Internet on December 3, 2015 — two days after Chechnya’s pro-Kremlin ruler, Ramzan Kadyrov, said in an interview with Russian state media that he had placed agents inside IS in both Syria and Iraq.

In the IS execution video, Magomed Khasiyev, 23, dressed in an orange jumpsuit, admits spying for the Russian intelligence services, after which a Russian-speaking IS militant cuts his throat on camera.

IS did not publish a photo or video of Karayeva’s execution, either in Istok magazine or other Internet resources.

Islamic State distributes Istok through its channels on various social networks. The Russian-language propaganda magazine is aimed at audiences in the countries of the former Soviet Union.