The head of Russia's Federal Security Service said that Russia's most wanted criminal, Chechen rebel leader Shamil Basayev, was killed Monday, Russian news agencies reported.
FSB head Nikolai Patrushev told President Vladimir Putin that Basayev, 41, had been killed overnight in Ingushetia, the ITAR-Tass news agency reported.
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 said Basayev's killing was "deserved retribution" for terror attacks in Beslan and Budyonnovsk, the RIA-Novosti news agency reported. Basayev claimed responsibility for those attacks.
The September 2004 attack on the Beslan school, in which 331 victims were killed, in particular shocked Russia and divided the rebel movement, since civilians, including women and children, were taken hostage.