A new issue of ISIS’s English-language Istok magazine says the terrorist group executed a woman named Elvira Karaeva in its Caucasus affiliate, just months after a woman of the same name was accused of providing support to ISIS in Russia.
The terrorist group frequently executes individuals accused of spying, sometimes videotaping their “confessions” and publishing them alongside the execution videos. It’s not clear whether any individuals accused of spying were, in fact, spies, or merely individuals who’d crossed the wrong person within the organization. Karaeva’s case appears to be the first where a woman was accused of spying and used for propaganda purposes. ISIS does not publish images of women in its propaganda.
It’s not clear whether the allegedly executed Karaeva, known as Sumaya in the jihadi community, is the same woman charged in Russian courts. The magazine calls her by her given name because she “does not deserve to be called by the same name as the first martyr [in Islam].”
“Elvira the apostate gave information to the Russian special services about our brothers and sisters waging jihad in the patch of Allah in the Caucasus Province,” said a story in the May issue of Istok, according to a copy provided by MEMRI [the Middle East Media Research Institute]. “In total, the investigators proved Elvira’s involvement in the martyrdom of six brothers and one sister.”
The magazine alleges that Karaeva’s confession was taped, and that her husband, Abu Muslim, was among the seven ISIS sympathizers she turned over to Russian special forces.
“We decided not to go into detail about Elvira’s relations with the agents of the Russian special services,” the Istok story said. “It is enough for our readers that she acted against the religion of Allah, assisted its enemies, and, by her actions, hindered the development of jihad in the lands of the Caucasus by assisting in the murders of the servants of Allah.”
She was killed with a shot to the head and thrown into a scrapheap, it adds.
But Russian news reports name an Elvira Karaeva as one of five women, all of Dagestani origin, implicated in an ISIS bust last November. Karaeva and the others were accused of selling homemade soap and children’s clothes under the pretense of raising money for needy Muslim youth, and then sending the money to terrorists.
The women were selling the products in Makhachkala, the capital of Dagestan, where the supposed spy was allegedly executed.
Their alleged ringleader, Darya Itsankova, is believed to have fled the country. She’s also believed to have been married to William Plotnikov, a Russian-Canadian boxer-turned-insurgent who may have been linked to the Tsarnaev brothers, the men responsible for the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. He was killed in Dagestan in 2012.
Two of the women, Saida Khalikova and Elena Arshakhanova, were sentenced in December, after pleading guilty under the promise of a lesser sentence. At the time, news outlets reported that it wasn’t clear whether Karaeva’s case, or the case of another woman, Polina Atemaskina, had been heard in court.
When a court lowered Khalikova and Arshankhanova’s sentences to a little more than five years in April, Grani.ru again reported that the status of Karaeva and Atemaskina’s cases was unknown.