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Russia Says North Caucasus IS Leader Killed In Daghestan Raid

  • RFE/RL

A Volgograd trolley bus after a December 2013 bombing allegedly organized by militant leader Rustam Aselderov.

A Volgograd trolley bus after a December 2013 bombing allegedly organized by militant leader Rustam Aselderov.

Russia's FSB security service says it has killed a leader of the Islamic State (IS) militant group during a raid in Russia’s North Caucasus region of Daghestan.

In a statement issued on December 4, the FSB said it had killed Rustam Aselderov and "four of his close associates" during a raid on a private house near Daghestan’s capital city of Makhachkala.

The statement said authorities found "automatic weapons and a large amount of ammunition and explosives" at the house during the December 3 raid.

Aselderov, who used the name Sheikh Abu Mohammad al-Qadari, was named by the IS as the so-called "emir" of what the militants have declared as a new Caucasus province.

But he had been known to Russian security officials as an active member of terrorist groups in Daghestan since 2012.

Aselderov pledged allegiance to IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in December 2014.

The FSB said Aselderov organized two bomb attacks in the southern Russian city of Volgograd that killed 34 people in 2013 when he was fighting as the leader of the so-called Caucasus Emirate extremist group.

Those attacks included an attack on Volgograd’s train station by a female suicide bomber on December 29, 2013, that killed 18 people and another suicide bombing that killed 16 people on a Volgograd trolley bus the following day.

The FSB has linked Aselderov to two car blasts on the Astrakhan-Makhachkala highway in May 2012 that killed 14 people and injured more than 120.

The FSB also accused Aselderov of trying to organize a foiled attack by two female suicide bombers that was meant to take place on Moscow's Red Square on New Year's Eve in 2010.

Washington named Aselderov as a "foreign terrorist fighter" in 2015 and imposed sanctions against him.

In October, Russia announced that it was offering a 5 million ruble reward -- about $78,000 -- for information that would help authorities locate Aselderov.

It was not immediate clear whether an informant had provided information to Russian security officials about Aselderov’s whereabouts in exchange for the reward money.

With reporting by AFP and TASS
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