Monday, July 10, 2006

Not as tough when he's not fighting first graders

Chechen Warlord Shamil Basayev Killed, Security Service Chief Says

MOSCOW (AP) -- Chechen warlord Shamil Basayev, the purported author of modern Russia's worst terrorist attacks, has been killed, the head of the Federal Security Service said Monday.

FSB head Nikolai Patrushev told President Vladimir Putin that Basayev had been killed overnight in Ingushetia, the ITAR-Tass news agency reported.

Basayev, 41, claimed responsibility for some of Russia's worst terror attacks, including the seizure of some 800 hostages in a Moscow theater in 2002, the 2004 school hostage taking in Beslan that killed 331, and the seizure of about 1,000 hostages at a hospital in Budyonnovsk that killed about 100.

Patrushev told Putin that the Chechen rebels had hoped to "put political pressure on the Russian leadership" during the Group of Eight summit later this week, which Putin is chairing.

Putin called Basayev's killing "deserved retribution" for terrorist attacks in Beslan and Budyonnovsk, the RIA-Novosti news agency reported.

The attack on the Beslan school shocked Russia and divided the rebel movement, since civilians, including women and children, were taken hostage.

Patrushev said that the operation to eliminate Basayev, in which many other rebels were killed, was "thanks to the operative position abroad, especially in those countries where arms were collected."