Russian officials say Magomed-Ali Vagabov, the man thought to have masterminded the twin suicide bomb attacks on the Moscow underground earlier this year, has been killed during an operation by security forces in Dagestan.
40 people died in the rush-hour attacks in March, the deadliest in Moscow for six years.
“Four militants were killed, among them the so-called “Emir of the Dagestan front”, Madomedali Vagabov. This man is guilty of many crimes, among them organising the bombings in the Moscow underground, murder attempts on police officers and other security agencies.” said police spokesperson Vyacheslav Shanshin.
Vagabov died along with four others during a gunfight with special forces. They were killed when the house they were holed up in caught fire.
State television showed the immediate aftermath of the clash – a smouldering, half-destroyed stone house with troops dressed in camouflage.
The mainly Muslim North Caucasus, which includes Dagestan, is in the grip of a violent insurgency, as militants push for an Islamic emirate across the region that adheres to Sharia law.
Officials say Vagabov was officially second-in-command and is reported to have been married to one of the fenale suicide bombers. The head, Doku Umarov, is still at large.