Terrorist killed in Tbilisi special operation was behind Istanbul airport explosion


Georgian State Security Service issued a statement on December 1, confirming that one of the three terrorism suspects killed during the anti-terrorist operation in Tbilisi on November 21-22 was an ISIS member Ahmed Chatayev.

The man was named as a mastermind of a terrorist attack in the Ataturk Airport in Turkey in 2016, claiming 48 lives, three perpetrators among them. His involvement has not been corroborated by Turkish officials.

The SSS said Chatayev's identity has been confirmed "through investigative activities and examinations conducted with the help of the American colleagues, including DNA and finger prints analysis".

Giorgobiani added that the two killed suspects had no ID documents, and Georgia with the help of the USA was trying to specify who they are.

Akhmed Chatayev, a member of so-called Islamic State (IS), was among three militants killed during a 20-hour siege in Tbilisi a week ago.

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He added that US authorities were helping to identify the other two killed in the operation. "We continue to work with our global partners to identify the other two [armed men]", Giorgobiani said.

The U.S. Ambassador to Georgia Ian Kelly commented on the investigation as well, saying: "Obviously, we do have questions about how these individuals were in Georgia". Interpol says that Chatayev was seen as one of the more senior Russian-speaking ISIL members, responsible for training and commanding at least 130 fighters.

A veteran of Chechnya's conflict with Moscow during which he lost an arm, he lived in Georgia's Pankisi Gorge, a remote area populated largely by people from the Kist community, ethnic Chechens whose ancestors came to mainly Christian Georgia in the 1800s.

Chatayev had been detained by Georgian police in 2012 for possession of explosives, but had left Georgia after being released on bail.