BEIRUT (Reuters) - A news agency that supports Islamic State denied on Tuesday reports that the group’s senior operative Abu Omar al-Shishani (the Chechen) had been killed or wounded.
Amaq agency quoted a source saying Shishani, described by Pentagon as Islamic State’s minister of war, “had not been exposed to any injury”.
Last week U.S. officials said Shishani was likely killed in a U.S. air strike. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said he had been gravely wounded and moved to the group’s Syrian operations base in the city of Raqqa but died on Monday.
Islamic State has not issued a formal statement on Shishani, and it was not possible to independently establish his condition.
Born in 1986 in Georgia, which was then still part of the Soviet Union, the red-bearded Shishani had a reputation as a close military adviser to Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Reporting by Mostafa Hashem; Writing by Dominic Evans; Editing by Hugh Lawson