The leader of a Daesh group was killed by Russian security services near Makhachkala, the capital of Dagestan — a federal subject of Russia — on Saturday, said the Federal Security Service (FSB).
Rustam Magomedovich Aselderov, known as Abu Muhammad, and four militants close to him were killed in an exchange of fire with government forces, reported CNN. Abu Muhammad was the leader of the North Caucasus ISIS branch, "Vilayat Caucasus". Muhammad had pledged allegiance to ISIS in 2014.
"A few firefights have taken place in the area of the counterterrorism operation closer to the evening," a source told TASS news agency. "Up to five gunmen are reported to be killed."
The FSB surrounded the residence where they were hiding. The security forces tried to negotiate with the terrorists, but they opened fire with automatic weapons and the government forces responded accordingly.
"Rustan Magomedovich Aselderov (Abu Muhammad), born in 1981, the leader of the Vilayat Kavkaz section of the Islamic State international terrorist group, was among the eliminated militants alongside four of his close associates," the FSB said in a statement.
Muhammad became the leader of Vilayat Caucasus in 2015. The US State Department had designated him as a foreign terrorist fighter in 2015.
A counterterrorism operation was launched in the village, where Muhammad and four others were found, around 11.00 Moscow Standard Time, which led to restrictions on the local people's daily routine, TASS reported.
Automatic weapons and an arsenal of ammunition were found.
Aseldrov had handled criminal activity and had planned terrorist attacks, including suicide bombings in North Caucasus and Central Russia. He was also related to the 2013 terrorist attacks in Volgograd.
Dagestan has a large Muslim population and they make up for the largest ISIS group from a non-Muslim majority country.