ISIL militant who planned Istanbul airport attack ‘killed in Georgia’
An Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militant who is believed to have been behind a deadly attack on Istanbul International Atatürk Airport was reportedly killed in a 17-hour-long anti-terror operation in Georgia.
Ahmet Recepoviç Çatayev was allegedly among three Chechen-origin jihadist militants killed in an operation against ISIL, daily Habertürk reported on Nov. 23.
A total of 46 people were killed in the ISIL attack on Atatürk Airport on June 28, 2016, and Çatayev is believed to have been one of its planners.
According to Habertürk, Georgian police determined that a group of ISIL militants were hiding in an apartment on the Gabriel Salos Street in Tblisi’s Isani region.
The police encircled the apartment on Nov. 22, followed by the start of an operation that saw jihadists firing back at police.
The clashes between Georgian security forces and ISIL militants lasted for 17 hours and three jihadists were killed, while another one was apprehended alive.
After the operation, Georgian authorities said that those killed were of Chechen-origin and one of them was reportedly Çatayev.
According to the daily, Çatayev and several other militants had illegally crossed into Georgia from Turkey and settled in an apartment registered under the name of Chechen-origin Aslanpek Cebrailov.
The suspect apprehended alive, meanwhile, is thought to be the owner of the apartment.
Çatayev is believed to have been in contact with Omar al-Shishani since 2012, who was killed last year.