Russian 'Bin Laden' killed by Moscow's special forces

Russia exulted in the death of a terrorist dubbed "the Russian Bin Laden," yesterday claiming it has proof he was behind a deadly train bombing last November 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.

FSB chief Alexander Bortnikov told President Dmitry Medvedev said that the operation in southern Russia last week had resulted in the death of eight militants and the capture of ten.

The successful mission became a truimph when it appear that one of Russia's most wanted men and the ideologue-in-chief of the Islamist rebel movement in Chechnya and southern Russia was reported among the dead.

Mr Bortnikov said Tikhomirov was the "odious" terrorist and his officials said he had emerged as a Russian counterpart to Osama bin Laden. He said Tikhomirov and his associates were behind the bombing of the Nevsky Express train between Moscow and St. Petersburg last November, an incident that left 28 people dead and 90 wounded. They may also have been behind a similar attack on the same line in 2007, he suggested.

"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 FSB troops found a bomb making factory in the house in Ingushetia, southern Russia, where the terrorists had been cornered.

Footage of the assault shows FSB special forces engaged in a fierce gun battle with the militants. The FSB then appears to have fired several tank rounds into the house to punch a giant hole in the wall.

Special forces have long been hunting Said Buryatsky, accusing him of recruiting and training suicide bombers as well as taking part in terror attacks himself. Videos on You Tube show him clad in camouflage clutching an assault rifle while preaching radical Islam.

Violence in Russia's North Caucasus region in the Muslim-majority republics of Chechnya, Ingushetia and Dagestan has been on the rise in the last year as militants continue their struggle to create an Islamist caliphate in the region. Doku Umarov, the Chechen rebel leader, remains at large.

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