Chechen Rebel Leader Dies in Explosion

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Chechen warlord Shamil Basayev, seen in a file photo in the mountains near the village of Ansalta.

Chechen warlord Shamil Basayev, seen in a file photo in the mountains near the village of Ansalta, was linked to attacks that observed no limits, targeting hospitals, a theater and even schoolchildren. AP/File photo hide caption

toggle caption AP/File photo

The man who claimed responsibility for the bloody Beslan school siege is dead, according to the Russian government.

The state security chief said Chechen rebel leader Shamil Basayev was killed by Russian special forces as he and other rebels were planning an attack to coincide with the G8 summit of world leaders President Vladimir Putin is hosting this week in St Petersburg.

The country's most wanted man, Basayev had claimed responsibility for some of the bloodiest attacks in Russia in recent years, including the 2004 seizure of a school in Beslan.

Chechen rebels dispute the government's version of events, saying Basayev was killed in an accidental explosion.

Timeline: Shamil Basayev and Terrorism

Shamil Basayev

Born: Jan. 14, 1965, in Dyshni-Vedeno, Chechnya

Died: July 10, 2006, in Ingushetia, Russia

Moscow Theater hostage crisis

Russian Special Forces attend to victims of the Moscow Theater takeover on Oct. 26, 2003. 129 hostages died when Russian troops broke the siege. Anton Denisov/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Anton Denisov/AFP/Getty Images
Beslan school assault

Troops secure the area outside of a school in Beslan, Russia. At least 331 civilians (many of them children) were killed in the resulting explosions and gunfire that ended the two day standoff with Chechen gunmen inside the school. Oleg Nikishin/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Oleg Nikishin/Getty Images

Chechen separatist leader Shamil Besayev, killed today by Russian forces, was wanted in connection with numerous terrorist attacks throughout Russia and Chechnya in the last 15 years.

Nov. 9, 1991: Basayev and two compatriots hijack a Russian passenger jet, diverting it to Ankara, Turkey. After giving a press conference to alert the world to the cause of the Chechen separatists and securing safe passage for himself and the other hijackers, Basayev releases the hostages.

June 14, 1995: Basayev leads Chechen fighters in an attack on a hospital in Budyonnovsk, about 90 miles north of the Chechen border. Some 1,000 people are held hostage and about 100 people are killed; dozens more die when Russian troops unsuccessfully storm the hospital on June 17.

Oct. 23, 2003: Chechen militants take 800 people hostage at a Moscow theater. Two days later, Russian special forces storm the building. 129 hostages and 41 Chechen fighters are killed, mostly from effects of the narcotic gas Russian forces use to subdue the attackers.

May 9, 2004: A bomb rips through a stadium in the Chechen capital, Grozny, during a Victory Day ceremony, killing President Akhmad Kadyrov, the Kremlin's point man for efforts to control separatist violence in the region. As many as 24 people are killed.

Aug. 24, 2004: Two airliners crash nearly simultaneously after taking off from the same Moscow airport, killing 90 people.

Sept. 1, 2004: About 30 gunmen seize a school in the southern town of Beslan. 331 civilians (including over 180 children) die in explosions and gunfire that ended the standoff two days later.

Oct. 13, 2005: Gunmen launch a series of attacks on police in Nalchik, capital of the tense Kabardino-Balkariya republic, near Chechnya. Basayev claims credit for planning the attack, in which 139 people were killed, including 94 militants.

Source: Associated Press



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