The Federal Security Service (FSB) said today that it killed an “emir” of the radical Islamist group in the North Caucasus along with four other militants in a raid in the Dagestan region.
The FSB said in a statement that “among the bandits neutralized was the leader of the Caucasus region of the Islamic State, Rustam Aselderov, and four close collaborators.”
The FSB said that Aselderov was involved in the attacks in 2013 in the Russian city of Volgograd, which killed 34 people.
Aselderov was fighting for another rebel group in the Caucasus at the time. It is also linked to two car bombings in Dagestan in 2012 that killed 14 people and injured at least 120.
Rustam Aselderov, 35, pledged loyalty to the leader of the Islamic State Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in December 2014, becoming the first major militant to do so in the Caucasus.
Since then he has claimed responsibility for several attacks against the police in Dagestan.
Dagestan is one of the republics of the North Caucasus where a strong separatist Islamic guerrilla movement has been intensifying, which has intensified its activities, including launching attacks against police forces.
In 2015, the US State Department imposed sanctions against Aselderov as a “foreign terrorist fighter” after the jihadist group had appointed him leader of his faction in the North Caucasus.
The Islamic state has appointed Aselderov, also known as Sheikh Abu Mohammad al-Qadari, the governor of a new province after Islamist militants in the region have declared loyalty to the jihadist group.
The North Caucasus of Russia is one of the largest sources of foreign ‘jihadists’ to fight in Syria and Iraq.