Militant leader killed in Russia's Chechnya

09:04, March 19, 2010      

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A militant leader linked to Al-Qaeda has been killed during an ongoing operation in Russia's restive North Caucasus republic of Chechnya, local media reported on Thursday.

Six militants have been killed in the operation, which started Wednesday in the mountainous region of Chechnya. Three policemen also died, said TV station Russia Today.

The killed leader, identified as Abu Haled of Arab nationality, was reported to have connections with Al-Qaeda.

Leader of the Chechen republic Ramzan Kadyrov said Abu Haled and the group's other Arab leaders, Mukhanad and Yasir, were responsible for major terrorist attacks across southern Russia in recent years.

"Abu Haled, according to operational data, came to Chechnya 13 years ago. He handled the technical and psychological training of terrorists. Possessing special training, Abu Haled had for many years succeeded in hiding out in the mountains," said Kadyrov as quoted by the RIA Novosti news agency.

Russia's restive North Caucasus republics, particularly Chechnya, Dagestan and Ingushetia, have been plagued by violence stemming from Islamist militants and criminal groups.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev highlighted security and economic problems in the mainly Muslim region late last year and ordered measures to end militant violence, clan rivalries, and pervasive corruption there.

Source: Xinhua
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