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The Imam Shamil Battalion, also known as Katiba Al Imam Shamil, is a militant Islamist organization primarily active in the North Caucasus. It is the Caucasian/Russian branch of Al-Qaeda.[3][4][5]

Imam Shamil Battalion
Participant in the Insurgency in the North Caucasus, Islamic terrorism in Europe (2014–present) and
the Global War on Terrorism
Logo of the group
Logo of the group
ActiveApril 2017 – present
HeadquartersNorth Caucasus, Russia
Area of operationsNorth Caucasus, Russia
Size100 (according to the (CFR)[2]
Part of al-Qaeda
Allies Tahrir al-Sham
Turkistan Islamic Party
Opponent(s)State opponents
Battles and war(s)2017 Saint Petersburg metro bombing

The name of the group is most likely a reference to Imam Shamil, one of the first Muslim leaders in the Caucasus that fought the Russian Empire during the Caucasian War, and the third Imam of Caucasian Imamate.[citation needed]


It is unknown when the group was formed; however it did not rise to prominence until 26 April 2017, when it claimed responsibility for the 2017 Saint Petersburg Metro bombing. In its statement, it said that the attack was ordered by al-Qaeda's general Emir, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and that the group acts on behalf of al-Qaeda in the Caucasus and the Russian Federation. The attack was in retaliation to Russian military intervention in Syria. The group also pledged to continue launching terrorists attack in Russia until the Russian government withdraws its forces from the Caucasus and Syria. Is speculated that the group is led by Sirozhiddin Mukhtarov, who is also known as Abu Salah al-Uzbeky. In Tajikistan he is known for his connections with Uyghur terrorist groups such as the Turkistan Islamic Party and other al-Qaeda affiliates in Syria such as Tahrir al-Sham.[6][7]


  1. ^ Hudson, Valerie. The Hillary Doctrine. Columbia University. p. 154. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Shadowy 'al-Qaeda' group claims responsibility for St Petersburg bombing". The New Arab.
  4. ^ "Al-Qaeda-linked group claims St. Petersburg attack". Israel National News.
  5. ^ "Imam Shamil Battalion claims Russia metro bombing". Gulf-Times (in Arabic). 25 April 2017.
  6. ^ "Group connected to Al-Qaeda took responsibility for St. Petersburg terrorist attack".
  7. ^ "Group claims Russia metro bombing, says bomber acted on al Qaeda orders - monitor". AF Reuters.