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Leader of Istanbul Terror Was Wanted by Russia, Protected in Europe

July 1, 2016 (EIRNS)—As widely reported, the suicide bombing attack on Istanbul’s airport June 28, was carried out by a Chechen-led cell of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or Daesh. These are precisely the networks, for which the investigation and exposure of their Anglo-Saudi links in the 1990s, brought Lyndon LaRouche and Russian President Vladimir Putin into indirect cooperation.

It is now revealed that the leader and planner of the attack, Ahmed Chatayev, who has yet to be captured, was, according to Russian media network RT, given asylum in the European Union; a request by the Russian government for his extradition was refused. He is one of the most wanted terrorists by the Russian Federation.

When Chatayev joined the ISIL in 2015, he was assigned a leading role in training terrorists who would launch attacks in both Russia and Western Europe, according to the Deputy Chairman of the Russian Investigative Committee Andrey Przhezdomsky. Chatayev commands a unit consisting "primarily of immigrants from the North Caucasus," Russia’s Kommersant newspaper reported earlier this year.

Chatayev joined Islamist secessionist militants that fought against Russia in the Second Chechen War in 1999-2000, where he lost an arm. Later, he was considered to be a representative of Dokka Umarov, once terrorist "number 1" in Russia. He was on Russia’s wanted list since 2003 for sponsoring terrorism, recruiting extremists and membership in a terrorist group. But in the same year, he received asylum in Austria, claiming he lost his arm while being severely tortured in Russian prison. In 2008, he was detained with some other Chechens in the Swedish town of Trelleborg, after police found Kalashnikov assault rifles, explosives and ammunition in his car, for which he spent more than a year in Swedish prison.

Then in 2010 he was arrested in Ukraine with his mobile phone files containing instructions in demolition techniques, and photos of people killed in a blast. Russia’s request for his extradition was blocked when the European Court for Human Rights ordered Ukraine not to hand him over to Russia; Amnesty International also urged Ukrainian authorities to halt extradition. A year later, he was detained while trying to cross the border between Turkey and Bulgaria but he again avoided extradition to Russia thanks to the interference of human rights organizations, according to Kommersant.

Between 2012 and 2015, Chatayev reportedly lived in Georgia, where he also joined some terrorist groups and served a prison sentence on terrorism-related charges. In February 2015, he left Georgia for Syria, where he joined Daesh and assumed a high position in the organization’s hierarchy. It was only 2015 that the U.S. Justice Department put him on its terrorist list.

Police have positively identified two of the three suicide bombers as Rakim Bulgarov and Vadim Osmanov and holding Russian passports. The death toll in the airport bombing attack has increased to 44, with another 239 wounded.

The Guardian speculates that the bombing’s aftermath "may hasten Turkish-Russian rapprochement." Since the 1990s Turkey, and especially Istanbul, had become a base for thousands of Chechens and other militants operating against Russia. In fact injured Chechen fighters had received medical treatment in Turkey.

Noting that it was Putin who suppressed the Chechen rebels, and that these later joined Daesh in Syria and Iraq, the Guardian writes that 2,000 people of Russian origin—most of them Chechens—are now fighting in Syria with the jihadis.

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