Thursday, February 4, 2010

Russian Police Kill Al-Qaeda's Co-founder in the Caucasus

Via The Long War Journal -

A wanted Egyptian al Qaeda operative who helped establish the terror group in the Caucasus has been killed by Russian security forces during a clash in Dagestan.

Russia's Federal Security Service killed Mokhmad Mohamad Shabban, who is better known as Saif Islam or the Sword of Islam, and an associate during a raid yesterday in a mountainous region in the Republic of Dagestan.

"On February 2, the FSB [Federal Security Service] carried out a special operation in the district center of Botlikh, Dagestan. One of the founders of the Al Qaeda network in the North Caucasus Mokhmad Mohamad Shabban, 49, also known as "Saif Islam," and a gunman accompanying him were neutralized as they offered armed resistance," according to a statement published at Itar-Tass.

Shabban helped establish al Qaeda in the Caucasus, along with Ibn al Khattab. "In 1992, he [Shabban] arrived in Chechnya to take part in operations against federal forces," a Federal Security Service spokesman told RIA Novosti .

Russian security forces killed Khattab in 2002. Khattab served as the commander of the International Islamic Battalion in Chechnya, al Qaeda’s combat unit in the Caucasus.
The Federal Security Service has accused Shabban of plotting attacks against government and security personnel, and infrastructure throughout the Caucasus, at the behest of Georgian intelligence.

"He masterminded acts of sabotage to blast railway tracks, transmission lines, and gas and oil pipelines at instructions by Georgian secret services" the FSB stated. The FSB also accused Shabban of masterminding the Jan. 6 suicide attack that killed seven policemen on the outskirts of Makhachkala, the capital of Dagestan.

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