Istanbul airport attack mastermind killed in Georgia

Akhmed Chataev killed in police operation in Tbilisi last month, Georgian security agency says

Istanbul airport attack mastermind killed in Georgia

TBILISI, Georgia

The mastermind behind last year’s terror attack on Istanbul’s Ataturk airport has been killed in a police operation, the Georgian security agency said Friday.

The State Security Service confirmed that Akhmed Chataev was among three suspects killed in a counter-terrorism operation in Tbilisi on Nov. 22.

Spokesman Nino Giorgobiani said Chataev, a Russia national of Chechen origin, blew himself up while the other suspects were killed by security officers.

Chataev, 37, has been identified as the planner of the Daesh-linked attack on the airport on June 28, 2016. The bomb and gun attack saw 46 people and the three attackers killed. More than 200 were injured and a security officer was martyred.

Georgian police stormed Chataev’s hideout in an apartment block after hours of negotiations, Giorgobiani said, according to the AGENDA.GE news website.

He added that U.S. authorities were helping to identify the other two killed in the operation.

The security service added that Chataev, who lost a hand and leg in a confrontation with Georgian security forces in August 2012, was listed as a terrorist by the U.S. in 2015 over planned attacks on U.S. and Turkish targets.

By 2015, he had travelled to Daesh-controlled areas of Syria and Iraq and was named as an organizer of the airport attack by Turkish authorities late last year.

Reporting by Davit Kachkachishvili:Writing by Diyar Guldogan

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