The Islamic State (Isis) has confirmed that their former 'minister for war' Abu Omar al-Shishani has died in battle. The senior Daesh (Isis) commander has long-been the most famous Russian-speaking jihadist fighting with the terrorists.
Rumours about the death of al-Shishani surfaced in 2014 and 2015 but in March the Pentagon claimed that they had "most likely" killed the elusive Chechen in an airstrike on the Syrian town of al-Shadadi on 4 March.
But on Wednesday 13 July the Amaq Agency which serves as a mouthpiece for IS says al-Shishani, also known as Omar the Chechen, has been killed. They added that he was killed in battle in the Iraqi city of Shirqat but gave no further details.
IBTimes UK cannot verify the claims of the news agency and US officials are believed to be confirming whether or not it was their airstrike that killed him. Soon after they revealed they believed they had killed the militant, born Tarkhan Tayumurazovich Batirashvili but more commonly known by his nom de guerre Omar al-Shishani, reports emerged that he was 'clinically dead'.
"Shishani is not able to breathe on his own and is using machines. He has been clinically dead for several days," said Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said after the US reports. Rahman said al-Shishani was "the ISIL (IS) equivalent of the secretary of defence".
Chechen strongman leader Ramzan Kadyrov declared him dead in November 2014 and the 29-year-old Daesh (IS) leader was one of the most wanted jihadists by Washington, which put a $5m (£3.5m) bounty on his head.
Al-Shishani most recently held the role of chief of staff in the military council for the extremist organisation. Born in 1986 in Georgia but an ethnic Chechen he earned a reputation as a top military adviser to IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
A veteran of the 2008 Russo-Georgian War he rose up the ranks of IS after becoming the leader of a rebel group of foreign fighters known as Katibat al-Muhajireen (Emigrants Brigade) and then the leader of the Jaish al-Muhajireen wal Ansar in Syria before joining IS.
He is said to have been a disenfranchised former Georgian soldier who left his home country in 2012 to head to Turkey and later Aleppo to fight in the Syrian civil war. Just before his appointment as northern commander for IS in Syria, the Chechen masterminded the capture of the Menagh Air Base in August 2013, which boosted his standing among comrades.