Russia kills top 'Al-Qaeda militant' in Chechnya
Russian security forces have killed a top Al-Qaeda militant in Chechnya who coordinated foreign rebels in the North Caucasus, the national anti-terror committee said on Wednesday.
The militant, named as Doger Sevdet, was a Turkish national who had taken on the nom-de-guerre of Abdullah Kurd and "was an envoy of Al-Qaeda in the Northern Caucasus," it said in a statement published on Russian news agencies.
It said that Sevdet, who arrived in the region in 1991, had taken part in the planning of numerous acts of terror and attacks on members of the public and security forces.
Sevdet, who was born in 1977, and a fellow militant from Dagestan were killed by Russian security forces Tuesday in a clash in the Vedesnk region of Chechnya, it said.
His death comes two weeks after Russia killed another top Al-Qaeda militant, a Saudi operative known as Moganned in what analysts said was one of its biggest security successes in the region for years.
It also follows the killing in Pakistan by US forces of Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in an operation hailed by the Kremlin as a "serious success in the war against international terrorism."
Russian leaders have repeartedly said that terror is an international menace and have played up the links between Islamist militants in the Northern Caucasus and Al-Qaeda.
The past year has seen Moscow rocked by a bombing at the country's busiest airport that killed 37 in January 2011 and a twin suicide attack that claimed 40 lives during morning rush hour on the metro in March 2010.
The national anti-terror committee said that inside Sevdet's Turkish passport there were visas for Georgia, Azerbaijan and Pakistan.
It said that the operation was made possible by active cooperation with foreign partners and boasted that the outcome would complicate contacts between North Caucasus militants and Al-Qaeda.
The committee said that Sevdet had effectively succeeded Moganned as the top foreign militant in the Northern Caucasus after his death on April 11 and taken responsibility for "coordination of foreign terrorism in the Northern Caucasus."
After waging two wars against separatists in Chechnya after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Kremlin is now battling an Islamist-tinged insurgency that has also spread to the neighbouring regions of Dagestan and Ingushetia.
Long criticised for failing to make any apparent progress in dealing with the insurgency, the authorites have claimed some progress in the last weeks.
Last week, security forces killed 10 militants around the region of Kabardino-Balkaria which had until recently been spared the worst of the unrest but has recently seen an upsurge in violence.
© 2011 AFP