by WorldTribune Staff, July 15, 2016
The Pentagon is still unable to confirm if the notorious Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) commander known as Omar the Chechen is dead or alive.
The Pentagon had claimed in early March that coalition forces had killed Omar al-Shishani, but it was later reported that he was alive but “clinically dead”.
On July 14, the Pentagon said it had targeted Shishani again, this time in a July 10 strike aimed at an ISIL leadership meeting near Mosul, Iraq.
“We believe that Omar Shishani was present” with 16 other ISIL group leaders, U.S. Defense Department spokesman Peter Cook said. “We believe this was a successful strike but we are not in a position to be able to confirm that he was killed.”
ISIL had announced on July 13 that Shishani had been killed.
Cook acknowledged that American officials had until recently believed Shishani to be dead. But defense officials learned that he was present at the meeting near Mosul and decided to strike again.
The red-bearded Shishani had been in the crosshairs of American officials who portrayed him as an experienced warlord and ISIL’s so-called minister of defense.
The United States had put a $5 million bounty on his head.