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Monday, April 25, 2011     GET REAL

Russia guns down Al Qaida field commander
in Chechnyan shootout

MOSCOW — Russia has killed the regional chief of Al Qaida.


Russia's National Antiterrorism Committee said the Al Qaida chief in Chechnya was killed in a battle with Interior Ministry troops. The committee identified the Al Qaida chief only as Mohanad, a Saudi national.

"He was regarded as an unquestioned religious authority and a powerful field commander," the committee said on April 22.

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The committee identified three Islamist operatives killed in the shootout in Chechnya's Shali district. The statement said Mohanad as well as Doku Umarov were the most well-known of the Chechen rebels, Middle East Newsline reported.

Mohanad was identified as the commander of Al Qaida in the North Caucasus. The committee said Mohanad was regarded as a rival to Umarov for the post of overall Islamic commander in the region. Umarov has claimed responsibility for the bombing of a Moscow airport in January in which 37 people were killed.

Mohanad was said to have been a leading Al Qaida commander in the Caucasus since 1999. In 2005, Mohanad became the chief recipient for funds to Al Qaida in the Chechnya region.

"Almost all terror attacks that used suicide bombers over the last few years were prepared with his involvement," the committee said.

Chechnya has long been a battle ground for Al Qaida. Officials said Al Qaida has sent thousands of Arab nationals to the breakaway republic since 1995.

Another insurgency casualty was identified as Khaled Yusef Al Emirate, a 42-year-old Jordanian national. Officials said Al Emirate served as a field commander for the Islamic rebels.

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