TBILISI, DFWatch–Defense Minister Tina Khidasheli says the U.S. government has informed that there is an assumption that Tarkhan Batirashvili, known as Omar al-Shishani or Omar the Chechen, was killed on Friday, but they are studying the situation.
Khidasheli told journalists that the government is waiting for a final answer, just like the public.
She said that the information from the U.S. government was delivered Wednesday morning but it is not official, as it is an assumption.
Several media reported on Wednesday that the Pentagon assumes that al-Shishani, a Georgian citizen and one of the leaders of the Islamic State, or ISIS, terrorist group, might have been killed in an airstrike, but they cannot confirm this. The Pentagon is continuing to study the incident.
A spokesperson for the Pentagon was quoted saying that if Shishani is dead this can mean that it will become complicated for ISIS to recruit foreign fighters.
Al-Shishani’s father Temur Baturashvili, who lives in Pankisi Gorge in northern Georgia, told journalists that he doesn’t know anything but hopes it is a lie. He said no-one has contacted him and he learned about his son’s presumed death from TV.
“I know nothing, neither do the neighbors,” he said, adding that his son hasn’t called for a long time.