A red-bearded Islamic State commander described by American officials as the group's de facto minister of war may have been killed in an air strike in Syria on Friday by the U.S.-led coalition, several U.S. officials said on Tuesday.
Abu Omar al-Shishani, also known as Omar the Chechen, ranked among the most wanted militants under a U.S. reward program that offered up to $5 million for information to help remove him from the battlefield.
Born in 1986 in Georgia, which was then still part of the Soviet Union, Shishani had a reputation as a close military adviser to Islamic State's leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who was said by followers to have relied heavily on him.
He may have been killed during a coalition strike on March 4 near the town of al-Shadadi, which U.S.-backed forces from the Syrian Arab Coalition captured from the Islamic State last month. Still, the United States still appeared unwilling to declare Shishani dead.