Russia 'may have killed' Islamist militant chief: reports
The leader of the Islamist insurgency in the Northern Caucasus, Doku Umarov, may have been among the 17 militants killed in a special operation by the Russian security forces, reports said Tuesday.
However the reports were not confirmed and Russian officials have repeatedly over the last years prematurely announced the death of Umarov, only to be proved wrong later.
Umarov, whose Caucasus Emirate rebel group aims to enforce Islamic rule across the Northern Caucasus, claimed organising both the Moscow metro bombing one year ago and the suicide attack at Domodedovo airport in January.
The Interfax news agency quoted security officials as saying that Umarov may have been among those killed in Monday's special operation in Ingushetia but emphasising the authorities were awaiting further confirmation.
"Among the 17 killed were bodyguards of Umarov. This allows us to believe that Umarov himself was killed," a security source in Ingushetia told the news agency.
Another source told the agency that the authorities "hoped" that Umarov had been killed but final confirmation would only come once the bodies of those killed had been identified.
Russia on Tuesday marks one year since the metro bombings, when 40 people were killed and dozens wounded by two female suicide bombers during the morning rush hour.
© 2011 AFP