Monday, 30 January 2017

ISIS “minister of war” trained by anti-terror firm in US

ISIS “minister of war” trained by anti-terror firm in US


ERBIL, Kurdistan Region— One of the leading foreign fighters of the Islamic State, who is now called the “minister of war” for the militant group in Mosul, has previously been trained in the US by the private military company Blackwaters, according to the Iraqi intelligence sources. 

Gulmurad Khalimov, 41, replaced his predecessor Abu Umar Chichani as the group’s minister of war last June after Chichani was killed in an airstrike in Shargat, south of Mosul. 

The US has announced a bounty of $3 million for information leading to the arrest or death of Khalimov who is originally from Tajikistan and is believed to have been recruited by the ISIS in 2013. 

“We have detailed information about the ISIS minister of war. He’s, however, smart and tactical, changing places far too often,” an Iraqi intelligence officer told Rudaw on condition of anonymity. 

According to the source, Khalimov is still in Mosul with an estimated 3,000 militants in the western parts of the city. He appears to be the most senior member of the extrimist group after their leader Abu Bakir al-Baghdadi whose whereabouts is unclear. 

According to international monitoring groups, over 10,000 foreigners have joined the group in both Syria and Iraq as foreign fighters, but the jihadi assemblage has also recruited young disfranchised local people in many places including in Mosul city.

There are no confirmed data about the death toll among the ISIS militants as no media is allowed to the territories controlled by the group who has in the past published horrific execution scenes of victims including dozens of Peshmarga forces. But estimates suggest that thousands of ISIS militants have been killed in both countries in ground and airstrikes. 

Khalimov made headlines in 2015 when he appeared in an ISIS propaganda video. It shows Khalimov speaking from an undisclosed location accompanied by men in characteristic insurgent garb, and cradling a sniper rifle.

He challenges Tajik servicemen, saying: "Are you ready to die for this state?"

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