The Islamic State released a video showing the beheading of a Russian intelligence officer it accused of spying on the group in Syria.
The video, which was released on media accounts associated with the Islamic State on Monday, showed the gruesome murder of Capt. Yevgeny Petrenko, 36, who the Islamic State said had infiltrated Islamist groups in Kazakhstan and the North Caucasus region of Russia before he was caught last year by the Islamic State in Syria.
The video was accessed through a copy provided on the site of the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors extremist publications and media. It confirmed the video on Tuesday.
In an interview apparently given under duress, Petrenko, an agent for the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), said he had been abandoned by the Russian government and called on it to end its military campaign in Syria.
“I was supposed to infiltrate the special services of the caliphate and the leadership of the caliphate,” the man identifying himself as Petrenko, dressed in a black button-down shirt and a black hat, told an interviewer whose face was obscured. “One of my orders was to gain access to Omar al-Shishani or to his circle. But during this, I was discovered and arrested by the security services of the caliphate.”
Shishani is a Georgian Chechen commander for the Islamic State in Syria who is said to have been killed in 2016. The Pentagon once called him the Islamic State’s “minister of war.”
Thousands of Russian-speaking fighters have flocked to join the Islamic State, largely from the North Caucasus region of Russia and former Soviet republics in Central Asia. Russia has made it a priority to prevent them from returning to the country and carrying out terrorist attacks.
Russia launched a military campaign in Syria in September 2015 to back the government of President Bashar al-Assad against a wide array of rebel and Islamist groups. Increasingly, that has made Russia a target for terrorism, including the 2015 bombing of an airliner by an Islamic State-affiliated terrorist group in Egypt.
SOURCE: Andrew Roth
The Washington Post