Russia claims to have killed top al-Qaida figure

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
February 3, 2010 14:33



Russian officials say a top regional al-Qaida figure was one of two gunmen killed by police in the volatile Caucasus region of Dagestan.




The two men were killed Tuesday night after they opened fire on officers who had stopped their car, police said.




On Wednesday, the regional office of the Federal Security Service identified one of those killed Mokhmad Mokhamad Shakhban of Egypt and said he was a founder of al-Qaida's local network, Russian news agencies reported.




The southern Russian region of Dagestan, as well as neighboring Chechnya and Ingushetia, are plagued by violence connected to Islamic separatist insurgents. Many are apparently loosely grouped under the Caucasus Emirate movement, which Russian officials say has al-Qaida connections.



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