Russia says Islamist rebel leader Kebekov 'neutralised'
Russia said Monday the leader of the Islamist insurgency in the North Caucasus was killed in a special operation, and rebels confirmed his death.
Russia's National Anti-Terrorism Committee said that Aliaskhab Kebekov was "neutralised" during a special operation in the North Caucasus region of Dagestan.
Kebekov, 43, took over as leader of the Caucasus Emirate group in 2014 after the death of its former leader Doku Umarov.
The United States named Kebekov as a "global terrorist", citing his claimed readiness to carry out orders from al-Qaida
The Caucasus Emirate is an Islamist group created in 2007 that has claimed responsibility for a string of deadly attacks in a simmering insurgency.
It aims to establish an Islamist state in the region and has called for global jihad.
Russia said Kebekov was directly involved in organising suicide bombings in the southern city of Volgograd in 2013 that killed 34 people.
It said he also played a crucial role in the financial structure of the Caucasus Emirate "practically organising the extortion of money from the public."
Kebekov was declared wanted by Russia in 2012 for taking part in an illegal armed group.
Kavkaz Center website, used by rebels to release statements, confirmed Kebekov's death, saying that "our dear brother became a martyr."
Russia said four others were killed, including two regional leaders of the group, during the operation in the town of Buinaksk, which began Sunday and ended Monday.
Forces from Russia's FSB security force and interior ministry surrounded the rebels in a building and opened answering fire after attempts to negotiate broke down, the committee said.
The building where the rebels were hiding was destroyed during the fighting and the bodies were pulled out from under the collapsed walls, the Russian authorities said.
Those in the building included women, who refused to leave, while a child was handed out and survived, Russia's anti-terrorism committee said.
© 2015 AFP