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Russia security chief confirms train-bomb rebel dead

MYT 2:45:35 AM

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's Federal Security Service chief on Saturday confirmed the death of an Islamist rebel responsible for November's bomb attack on a Moscow-to-St. Petersburg train which killed 26 people.

Alexander Tikhomirov, also known as Said Buryatsky, was among eight rebels killed in a two-day raid in Russia's volatile Caucasian region of Ingushetia in early March, FSB head Alexander Bortnikov told Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

"Material evidence was found on the scene of the special operation, directly connected to the train blast, organised by this group of bandits in November last year," he said.

His meeting with the president was broadcast on Russian state TV Rossiya 24.

Islamic militants from Russia's North Caucasus claimed responsibility for the attack on the Nevsky Express and vowed further "acts of sabotage". No major attacks followed.

Earlier on Saturday, Ingushetia's governor Yunus-Bek Yevkurov also confirmed reports that Tikhomirov, was killed in a gun battle near Nazran, Ingushetia's largest town.

"He was killed, but his place will be taken over by some other ideologist," news agencies quoted Yevkurov as saying.

Last year, Yevkurov almost died in a suicide bomb attack that Russian police suspected was organised by Tikhomirov.

The rebel also took responsibility for the deadliest attack in Russia's North Caucasus region in four years last August when a suicide bomber killed at least 20 people and injured 138 at a police building in Ingushetia.

Islamic insurgents have been active in the tiny republic wedged between North Ossetia and Chechnya for nearly a decade.

Political analysts and rights groups say Russian security forces are effectively at war with Islamist rebels, who want to create a sharia-based, Muslim state across the North Caucasus separate from Russia.

(Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by Louise Ireland)


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