Omar the Chechen: Isis 'minister of war' confirmed dead by US officials

US officials have confirmed the death of Isis's most senior military commander after conflicting reports said he was on life support

A senior Isis militant dubbed the terror group’s “minister for war” has been killed in an airstrike, US officials have confirmed. 

Omar al-Shishani, also known as Omar the Chechen, was targeted in a strike near the town of al-Shadadi in Syria, two unnamed US officials told Reuters last week.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Shishani had been badly wounded but not killed in the attack and had been moved to Isis’s headquarters in Raqqa for treatment. 

Rami Abdel Rahman, the observatory's director, said last week: "He's not dead, he was taken from the province of Hasake to a hospital in Raqa province where he was treated by a jihadist doctor of European origin."   

He said the fighter was not able to breathe on his own and has been on life support for several days.

US officials' initially said he was "likely killed" but have said they believed it was only injured and later died but did not say how they knew this. 

They said he was killed along with 12 other Isis fights at a "shura" or meeting with other officials. 

While al-Shishani’s exact rank within the organisation is unknown he has been described as Isis’ most senior military commander and the US government had offered up a $5m (£3.5m) bounty for information about him.

Born in 1986 in a predominantly Chechen area of Georgia, Shishani fought as a Chechen rebel against Russia in 2006 before the Georgian military’s fight against them in 2008. 

According to Aymenn Jawa al-Tamimi, a research fellow at the Middle East Forum, he reapplied in northern Syria in 2012 as the head of a band of foreign fighters. 

He is believed to be close to Isis’ supreme leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi despite not being a member of the political elite controlling the terror group. 

Additional reporting by Reuters

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