Russia says Dagestan rebel commander killed in raid
Russian forces in the restive north Caucasus Dagestan region killed seven suspected rebels, including a top commander, Russia's anti-terror committee said Thursday.
One of those killed during the operation conducted on Wednesday and Thursday in the Dagestan capital Makhachkala was Abdullah Magomedaliev, the committee said, according to Russian news agencies.
The gunman, who was born in 1977, was described as "the leader of a battalion specialised in spectacular attacks against the security forces."
"Magomedaliev trained a suicide bomber and planned the the suicide attack against interior ministry base in Bouinaksk that killed 56 troops in September 2010," the committee said.
Initial reports at the time of the attack had mentioned a much lower death toll.
"Through his foreign network, Magomedaliev had contacts with the Georgian special service, who supported his terrorist activities," the committee alleged.
Russia and Georgia routinely trade accusations of interference in each other's security affairs.
The violence in Dagestan, the North Caucasus's most populous region bordering Chechnya, has rattled the Kremlin, with near daily attacks that have killed scores of police and bystanders.
The Kremlin has been fighting insurgents in the North Caucasus since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, waging a war in 1994-1996 against separatist rebels in Chechnya, which neighbours Dagestan to the west.
After a second war in Chechnya in 1999, the rebellion's inspiration moved towards Islam with the aim of imposing an Islamic state in the region.
Although the war ended in 2000, rebels have waged an increasingly deadly insurgency, with the unrest spreading into other areas of the North Caucasus such as Dagestan and Ingushetia.
© 2011 AFP