This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.
Ukraine’s main security agency says it has arrested a key figure in the Islamic State (IS) extremist group.
Al-Bara Shishani, a Georgian national, was apprehended near Ukraine’s capital, Kiyv, the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) said in a Facebook statement on November 15.
The statement said the CIA and Georgia’s Interior Ministry participated in the operation.
Vika Klimicheva, a spokeswoman for Georgia’s state security service, confirmed the man was being held in Ukraine and said his birth name was Cezar Tokhosashvili.
Shishani has served as a deputy to Abu Omar al-Shishani, the man the Pentagon has described as the IS’s “minister of war.”
After the latter was killed in 2016, Shishani fled to Turkey and in 2018 used a fake passport to travel to Ukraine, where he continued to coordinate IS activities, the SBU said.
He was detained in the Kyiv region near a private home where he resided, the statement said, without saying when the operation too place.
“A portrait examination has proved that the detained foreigner is indeed a wanted leader of the Islamic State,” according to the SBU.
Both Shishani and al-Shishani were said to have been born in Georgia’s Pankisi Gorge region near the border with Russia’s North Caucasus region of Daghestan.