Andrew Osborn

 

 

Chief Russia Correspondent

 

Deputy Bureau Chief Russia/CIS

 

Reuters

 

 

Russia claims the death of its Bin Laden

The Daily Telegraph, 8th March 2010 15:11

by Andrew Osborn in Moscow

RUSSIA exulted in the death of a terrorist it had dubbed its own "Bin Laden" yesterday, claiming it had proof he was behind a train bombing that left 28 people dead.

The FSB intelligence service said a special forces operation had resulted in the death of Sheikh Said Buryatsky, an Islamist convert whose real name was Alexander Tikhomirov. Alexander Bortnikov, the FSB chief, told President Dmitry Medvedev that eight militants had been killed and 10 captured in the operation in southern Russia last week. It appeared that one of Russia's most wanted men and the chief ideologue of the Islamist rebel movement in Chechnya and southern Russia was among the dead.

Mr Bortnikov said Tikhomirov and his associates were behind the bombing of the Nevsky Express between Moscow and St Petersburg last November.

"We have exposed a further 15 particularly serious crimes perpetrated by this bandit group," he told the president. "We are talking about the murders of policemen and the bombing of various key objects and infrastructure." He said that FSB troops had found a bomb factory in the house in Ingushetia, southern Russia, where the terrorists had been cornered.

Special forces have long been hunting Buryatsky, not knowing his real name, accusing him of recruiting and training suicide bombers and taking part in terror attacks himself. Videos on YouTube show him in camouflage clutching an assault rifle while preaching extremism. Violence in the Muslimmajority republics of Chechnya, Ingushetia and Dagestan has been on the rise in the last year as militants struggle to create an Islamist caliphate in the region.