Akhmed Chatayev, a member of the Islamic State (IS) suspected of organising the deadly 2016 Istanbul Airport attack, blew up himself during the counterterrorist operation in Tbilisi’s Gabriel Salosi Street on 21–22 November, the State Security Service (SSG) has confirmed.
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.
In a briefing on 1 December, SSG spokesperson Nino Giorgobiani said their counterterrorism department was negotiating the groups surrender when they refused and opened fire.
‘As a result of a 20-hour-long special operation, two criminals were killed and one, Akhmed Chatayev, blew himself up. Unfortunately one of our colleagues died. Two SSG members and two Interior Ministry members were wounded’, Giorgobiani said.
She denied media reports that two of the suspects had managed to escape, as well as reports that Adam Gumashvili, an IS member who is reported to be fighting in Syria, was among the dead.
On 27 October, the Tbilisi Court of Appeals confirmed to the media that the person arrested prior to the siege is Saedi Dudayev, a relative of the owner of the flat where the counterterrorist operation took place.
‘None of the dead had identification documents on them. The identification process proceeds’, she noted.
Chatayev was wounded and detained during the 2012 ‘Lopota Incident’ in eastern Georgia, which left at least 11 Chechen militants and three members of the State Security Services dead. Details of what the militants were doing on Georgian territory are still not clear, and Chatayev was subsequently released.
[Read more about counterterrorist operation in Tbilisi on OC Media: Three terror suspects dead after 21 hour siege in Tbilisi]