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Akhmed Chatayev, the Islamic State leader killed during the 21–22 November anti-terrorist operation in Tbilisi, did not enter Georgia through a border checkpoint, the head of the Georgian State Security Service (SSG) Vakhtang Gomelauri announced on 5 December. Gomelauri also told journalists that members of his group acquired their weapons from a hiding place located in a forest.
Gomelauri declined to reveal which country Chatayev and his associates crossed from, ‘due to the ongoing investigation’, but said that the group crossed in an area between checkpoints.
‘We have confirmed information about the weapons, where they got them from and took them home. The weapons were found in a forest, acquired from a hiding place. Now we are waiting for experts to confirm they were taken from this hiding place’, said Gomelauri.
He noted that the FBI is still working to identify those killed during the operation.
[Read more on the Isani siege on OC Media: Three terror suspects dead after 21 hour siege in Tbilisi]
The 21-hour-long counterterrorist operation left three suspects dead, including Chatayev, who Turkey suspects of organising the deadly 2016 Istanbul Airport attack. According to the SSG, he blew himself up during the operation.
The two other suspects killed during the siege have not yet been identified, and the investigation is proceeding to identify any connection with other ‘criminal groups’, the SSG said.
‘Unfortunately one of our colleagues died. Two SSG members and two Interior Ministry members were also wounded’, SSG spokesperson Nino Giorgobiani said.
[Read more about Isani Siege criminal group on OC Media: IS member Akhmed Chatayev ‘blew himself up’ in Tbilisi siege]