An Islamic State (IS) militant who refers to himself as "Khattab, the Terror of Azerbaijan,” appears in a new video that has been widely shared on Russian-language, pro-Islamic State social-media networks.
The video, seen by RFE/RL, shows a group of Azeris and Turkish Islamic State militants sharing a meal.
According to one expert on Azeri militants in Syria and Iraq, who tweets as NorthCaucasus Caucus, the video says the militants are in Fallujah in Iraq.
The Azeri outlet 1news.az has translated some of the video into Russian.
According to 1news.az, Khattab complains that people do not like him in Azerbaijan and promises that one day he will return and “greatly upset the unbelievers.”
Khattab also complained that women do not get along well with his fellow gunmen because they are afraid of them.
The head of Public Affairs at Azerbaijan’s Ministry of National Security reassured 1news.az that Baku was taking “necessary preventative measures” against “all possible threats to national security and interests.”
An IS militant calling himself Khattab al-Azeri (Khattab the Azeri) has appeared in previous videos. In February, a man with that name appeared in a video in which he said that the Syrian Islamist faction Jaish al-Islam (Army of Islam) was not really Islamic. The Azeri militant said that those who fought in its ranks were serving the interests of Saudi Arabia and the United States.
The most recent video has been reported in both Azeri and Russian-language media in Azerbaijan, which like other former Soviet republics is concerned about its nationals fighting in Syria, including with Islamic State. There have been a number of reports about Azeri nationals killed fighting in Syria, including with IS in Kobani. In May, the leader of an Azerbaijani IS faction in Raqqa, Mohammad al-Azeri, gave a video address in which he stated that IS was on the “correct path of jihad” in Syria.
-- Joanna Paraszczuk