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Ukraine detains suspected ISIS group leader

ISIS flag (DoD Photo/Released)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

An elite Ukrainian police unit has apprehended a suspected 30-year-old member of the Islamic State (IS) extremist group in the Zhytomyr region west of Kyiv.

The Russian citizen was detained based on an Interpol notice related to murder and was hiding in Ukraine to evade arrest, the National Police said in a statement on November 21.

The unnamed suspect was born in the easternmost Ukrainian region of Luhansk but had lived in Russia for an extended period.

“According to reports, the detainee is a member of the terrorist radical organization Islamic State and even the leader of one of its groups,” the police said.

“By ethnicity, he is Daghestani, but was born in the Luhansk region of Ukraine. He lived in Russia for a long time. He was hiding in the territory of our country in order to avoid responsibility for murder.”

Last week, Ukrainian authorities, in coordination with the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and Georgia’s Interior Ministry, detained Al-Bara Shishani, a top IS commander.

The Georgian national had served as a deputy to Abu Omar al-Shishani, the man the Pentagon has described as the militant group’s “minister of war.”

After the latter was killed in 2016, Al-Bara Shishani fled to Turkey and in 2018 used a fake passport to enter Ukraine, where he continued to coordinate IS activities, Ukraine’s State Security Service (SBU) said.

He was detained in the Kyiv region near a private home where he resided, the SBU said.