Omar al-Shishani who is described as the ‘minister of war’ of ISIS has been killed according to Amaq, a website associated with the militant group.
According to reports Shishani was killed in the “in the town of Sharqat as he took part in repelling the military campaign on the city of Mosul”. But the website did not say when he was killed.
Shishani’s killing is another blow to ISIS which has suffered huge set backs in Iraq in recent times.
Pentagon has said in March that US forces has killed Shishani, and claimed that it is going to affect the ISIS operations in Syria and Iraq.
Shishani, whose real name was Tarkhan Batirashvili, was a fierce fighter with roots in Georgia reports Al Jazeera.
Shishani, was one of the ISIL leaders most wanted by Washington, which had put a multi-million-dollar bounty on his head.
His exact rank was unclear, but US officials had branded him as “equivalent of the secretary of defence” for ISIL.
Hisham al-Hashimi, a Baghdad-based security expert who is an adviser to the Iraqi government, said a source in Shirqat confirmed Shishani had been killed there along with several other militants.
Iraqi forces are advancing towards Mosul, the largest city still under the control of ISIS. They have mostly surrounded Shirqat, 250 km north of Baghdad, and reuters reports that retook a major air base from the militants to use in the main push on Mosul, 60 km further north.
Al Jazeera reports that Shishani came from the former Soviet state of Georgia’s Pankisi Gorge region, which is populated mainly by ethnic Chechens.
He fought as Chechen rebel against Russian forces and later joined Georgian military in 2006. He was arrested in 2010 for weapons possession and spent more than a year in jail, before leaving Georgia in 2012 for Istanbul and later Syria.