besayev 298 ap.
(photo credit: AP [file])
The head of Russia's Federal Security Service said that Russia's most wanted man, Chechen rebel leader Shamil Basayev, was killed Monday.
FSB head Nikolai Patrushev told President Vladimir Putin that Basayev, 41, had been killed overnight in Ingushetia. Patrushev's meeting with Putin was shown on Russian state television.
Patrushev told Putin that the Chechen rebels had hoped to "put political pressure on the Russian leadership" during the Group of Eight summit later this week, which Putin is chairing.
Putin called Basayev's killing "deserved retribution" for terrorist attacks in Beslan and Budyonnovsk. Basayev claimed responsibility for those attacks.
The September 2004 attack on the Beslan school, in which 331 victims were killed, shocked Russia and divided the rebel movement, since civilians, including women and children, were taken hostage.
Patrushev said many other rebels were also killed in the operation to eliminate Basayev.