Russian authorities have released footage purportedly showing the aftermath of the attack in which they claim the Chechen rebel leader Shamil Basayev was killed. According to Russian intelligence officials, Basayev was killed in an operation in Ingushetia, a republic bordering Chechnya, early on Monday.
No details of the operation have yet been given, but an Ingush regional Interior Ministry official said Basayev was killed while accompanying a truck filled with 100 kilogrammes of dynamite that blew up. The official said the blast also killed three other militants. No absolute proof of the killing has yet been provided by the Russian authorities, but the “Kavkaz Center” website, used by Chechen rebels, has posted a dedication to Basayev.
Putin said Basayev’s death was “deserved retribution” for a campaign of killing. The head of Russia’s FSB security agency said Basayev had been about to mount an attack in Ingushetia to coincide with this weekend’s G8 summit hosted by Putin in St. Petersburg.
Basayev claimed responsibility for the Beslan school siege in 2004, but blamed the death of 331 people, half of them children, on Russian forces who stormed the school. He also said he was behind the 2002 assault on Moscow’s Dubrovka theatre, during which 129 people died.