Russia's federal security service chief says
Chechen warlord Shamil Basayev has been killed in the southern Russian
republic of Ingushetia. Basayev, the Kremlin's most wanted man, has been
held responsible for Russia's deadliest terrorist attacks.
During a meeting in the Kremlin, broadcast on Russian television,
Russia's top intelligence official, Nikolai Patrushev, told Russian
President Vladimir Putin that Basayev was killed overnight during a
special operation in the republic of Ingushetia, bordering Chechnya.
Patrushev said the operation became possible thanks to the Russian
intelligence operatives' positions abroad, which, "helped to track down
weapons shipments to Russia." He said several other rebels were also
killed in the operation.
Vladimir Putin called the warlord's killing "deserved retribution for
the children of Beslan" and other attacks in Russia in recent years.
In September 2004, several-dozen armed men took over a school in the
town of Beslan, in North Ossetia, with more than 1,000 people inside. The
siege ended in a bloodbath. Three-hundred-thirty-one people were killed,
more than half of them children. Shamil Basayev claimed he was behind that
attack, as well as other attacks in Russia, which left hundreds of people
He led the first mass hostage-taking in the southern Russian town of
Budyonnovsk in 1995, and also claimed to be behind the seizing of a Moscow
theater in 2002, during which 129 people died.
Nikoali Patrushev also said the rebels had hoped to "put political
pressure on the Russian leadership" during the Group of Eight summit in
St. Petersburg later this week, but did not elaborate.
Rebel-connected sources did not immediately comment on Russia's report
of Basayev's death.