According to Russian state television, Shamil Basayev was killed when a truck blew up while rebels were loading it with explosives. He was reportedly sitting in a civilian car nearby and died in the massive explosion. Basayev’s left foot was blown off by a mine in 2000 and he wore a false one.
Russia’s Interfax news agency quoted a senior Ingushetia official as saying Basayev had been identified by body fragments, including his head and his prosthesis.
President Putin has linked Basayev to violent attacks including one in 1995 in the southern town of Budennovsk, where rebels seized hundreds of hostages in a hospital. More than 100 people died during the assault and a botched Russian commando raid.
Putin said: “This is deserved retribution against the bandits for our children in Beslan, in Budennovsk, for all these acts of terror they committed in Moscow and other Russian regions, including Ingushetia and Chechnya.” Chechen rebel envoy Akhmed Zakayev, in London, said he believed Basayev’s death was due to an accident and not an FSB plot.