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Georgian MPs to Grill Intel Head About Botched Anti-Terror Operation

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, November 29
(TBILISI)—The head Georgia’s State Security Service (SSG) Vakhtang Gomelari will meet with parliamentarians in a closed-door hearing to answer to questions about a bloody anti-terror operation that too place in Tbilisi on November 22 that claimed four lives and wounded four others.

Defense Committee Chair Irakli Sesiashvili said Gomelauri will meet the Parliament’s Trust Group, a group composed of four MPs, three from the ruling Georgian Dream party and one from the opposition party, European Georgia.

Irakli Absadze, a member of the Trust Group from European Georgia, said he will grill Gomelari on how armed terrorists were allowed to enter Georgia and live openly in the heart of Tbilisi.

The 22-hour operation rocked Tbilisi’s outskirts as highly trained special operations units battled to dislodge the gunmen from a Soviet-era apartment block in the city’s Isani district.

Only one of the suspects was take alive. The unnamed assailant’s lawyer says he is a Russian citizen with no links to terrorist groups.

Gomelauri has made several statements in the days since the operation that one of the three suspects killed in the firefight may be Chechen-born militant Akhmed Chatayev - a member of ISIS’ leadership who planned a deadly attack on Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport in June 2016.

Georgian’s political opposition and civil society have sharply criticized the handling of the operations, saying top security figures must answer questions about the poor handling of the operation and the lack of coordinated intel in the lead up to the raid.