A senior Islamic State commander with a $5m (£3.5m) bounty on his head has been targeted in a coalition airstrike in Syria. Abu Omar al Shishani, also known as Omar the Chechen, could have been killed in the aerial attack last Friday , according to US officials.
But his death has not yet been confirmed. Known for his red beard, al Shishani, whose real name is Tarkhan Batirashvili, was the terror group’s de facto minister of war and among the most-wanted militants in a US reward programme.
He was IS top commander and leader in northern Syria and maintained unique authority in the group with about 1,000 foreign fighters under his command, according to the US Treasury. It said he also oversaw a prison near the group’s de facto capital Raqqa where foreign hostages may have been held.
He had a reputation as a close military adviser to IS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi who reportedly relied heavily on al Shishani. Born in 1986 in Georgia, which was then still part of the Soviet Union, al Shishani may have been killed near al Shadadi.
The town was captured from IS last month by US-backed forces from the Syrian Arab Coalition.