If the information on Abu al-Walid’s (on the left) death is confirmed, Shamil Basaev will be the only well-known terrorist left in Chechnya.
Abu Al-Walid Was a Shakhid Twice
// The Field Commander Died Either in Ingushetia or in Chechnya
Yesterday evening the Qatari TV channel Al Arabiya reported the death of well-known terrorist and field commander Abu al-Walid. The station received the information from the terrorist's brother, Abdullah al-Said al-Hamdi. He did not have any details of what had happened. Meanwhile, there are at least two known operations that could have eliminated the organizer of the explosion in the Moscow Metro and other notorious terrorist attacks.
Abu al-Walid “gets killed” almost every year, but then each time he rises from the dead. Therefore, Abdullah al-Said al-Hamdi's statement yesterday aroused only perplexity among the forces. “If he's talking, then he knows. We have no such information yet,” Aleksandr Potapov, deputy head of the FSB's Chechnya Office, told Kommersant. Comments were guarded at the FSB's Ingushetia Office: “The information is being verified; we can't rule out anything.” Ingush FSB officials have good reason to be cautious. The point is that last Saturday, a group of four terrorists closely associated with Abu al-Walid was wiped out in the village of Ordzhonikidzevskaya in Sunzhensky District, Ingushetia. Only three of the terrorists were positively identified. The fourth was severely burned and a forensic examination will be needed to identify him.
– On Saturday morning, Interior Ministry (MVD) and FSB divisions blockaded a group of fighters in a house at 18 Suvorov Street, – Ilya Shabalkin, an official of the regional antiterrorist operation headquarters (ROSh) in the North Caucasus, told Kommersant. – We knew there were people close to Abu al-Walid among the blockaded fighters. Specifically, Magomed Khashiev, the emir of Sunzhensky District, who was connected with dozens of terrorist acts, including the recent attempt on the life of the President of Ingushetia, Murat Zyazikov.
According to the main theory of the investigation, Shamil Basaev and Abu al-Walid ordered the murder of the President of Ingushetia because he had sanctioned very harsh measures against fighters operating in the republic. Dozens of Wahhabis had been killed as a result of these operations.
The officers needed Magomed Khashiev and those with him in the house on Suvorov Street alive, because they planned to use them to find the people who ordered the explosions. However, when the captors approached the house the fighters inside opened fire. Konstantin Grishin, an officer of the republic's FSB division, and three local police officersYakub Pugoev, Alikhan Geroev, and Vakha Korigov (who died in hospital)received injuries of varying degrees of severity. Amoured equipment was called to the site of the clash, with the usual intention of destroying the fighters along with the house, but it turned out there were hostages inside. Using the owner of the house and two of his children as a cover, the fighters demanded a UAZ car and free passage to the mountain districts of the republic. At MVD of Ingushetia, they told Kommersant that the authorities had done everything possible to avoid bloodshed, and to some extent they succeeded.
Taking part in the negotiations begun with the terrorists were the Mufti of Ingushetia, Magomed-hadji Albogachiev and relatives of Magomed Khashiev who had arrived from Chechnya. The fighters freed the hostages but flatly refused to surrender. Then the house was hit by fire from large-caliber machine guns and even flamethrowers. The officers were unable to enter the charred ruins of the house until dawn yesterday (April 18). At the duty office of the Sunzhensky Regional Internal Affairs Office (RUVD) they told Kommersant that four bodies had been found. Three of them were in the basement of the building and had not been badly burned by the fire, so they were identified at the scene. They were Magomed Khashiev and two village residents named Gaitsiev and Evloev. “They were young guys about 25–30 years old who had got involved with Wahhabism for one reason or another,” they said at RUVD. The fourth person has still not been officially identified. When asked whether he might have been Abu al-Walid, the people at RUVD gave various answers. And when the Kommersant correspondent described the Arab terrorist to the police officers, they contacted the republic's FSB office for comments. There, they neither confirmed nor denied the information on the death of the terrorist and field commander.
There were no large-scale special operations to wipe out fighters in neighboring Chechnya last weekend. As usual, only Sulim Yamadaev's special Vostok subunit and members of the President of Chechnya's security service were operating in the mountains of Vedensky and Nozhai-Yurtovksy districts. “If Abu al-Walid had been killed, I would have been informed immediately,” President Kadyrov told journalists. “But there is a possibility that he was eliminated, since there were fighters killed during these operations, including mercenaries from Arab countries, but not all of the dead have been identified.” In turn, Sulim Yamadaev's brother, State Duma deputy Khalid Yamadaev, confirmed to Kommersant that the Vostok group was currently involved in fighting bandits but said he knew nothing about Abu al-Walid's death.
“Anything is possible in war,” was the terse reply of Ichkeria's deputy minister of foreign affairs, Usman Ferzauli, who was in Qatar, to Kommersant's question. “But I have no exact information.” Meanwhile, Kommersant has learned that Abdullah al-Said al-Hamdi, who now lives in Riyadh, passed the information about his brother's death to Batredin Beno, a native of Chechnya living in Amman, Jordan. However, as Akram Hazam, Moscow bureau chief of the Qatari TV channel Al-Jazeera, told Kommersant, Mr. Beno would not disclose his sources of information and “his information should not be fully trusted”. However, by late evening, the site Kavkaz.tv announced, with references to the fighters' command, that Abu al-Walid had indeed become a shakid (suicide terrorist) last weekend.
Reward of $100 000 Offered for Abu Walid
Abu Walid al-Hamidi (Abul-Walid al-Ansari, Abu al-Walid) was born in fall 1967 in the city of Najran in southern Saudi Arabia. He spent his army service in the elite National Guard. After completing mine-layer's courses, he was sent to the Yemeni border, where he helped the Yemen Liberation Army carry out sabotage against the official authorities. He then entered the National Guard Academy. In the late 1980s, he made the acquaintance of Osama bin Laden.
Abu Walid appeared in Chechnya in late 1995 as a special envoy of a “Special Organization” (Al-Tanzim al-Khas) of the Muslim Brotherhood international association. He soon became deputy commander of Khattab's Arab mercenaries and was responsible for training camps for fighters. He took part in setting up the Caucasus Institute, where Chechens were taught the principles of Wahhabism. He personally commanded subversive operations in various Russian regions. In April 1996, he took part in the ambush of a column of the 245th motorized infantry regiment in Argun Gorge, which left 83 soldiers dead and 63 injured. He was one of the masterminds of the invasion of Dagestan in 1999. According to FSB information he and Khattab ordered the explosions of apartment buildings in Moscow and Volgodonsk. Together with Shamil Basaev, he formed a brigade of female suicide terrorists recruited from relatives of dead fighters. The Russian special services suspect Abu Walid of involvement in the explosions at Government House in Grozny and a hospital in Mozdok, a terrorist attack during a parade in Kaspiisk, the explosion in the Moscow Metro, and many other major acts of sabotage.
The federal authorities have announced Abu Walid's death no less than five times: in April and July 2000, September 2001, and May and June 2002. However, last November, the regional antiterrorist operation headquarters in the North Caucasus announced it was prepared to pay $100 000 for information on Abu Walid from money seized from the cache of Shamil Basaev's aide.
Alkhan-Yurt Wahhabi Leader Killed in Grozny
On Sunday night, Musa Akhmatukaev, leader of the Wahhabi group of the village of Alkhan-Yurt in Urus-Martanovsky District, was killed in Grozny. Ilya Shabakin of ROSh told the Kommersant correspondent that the forces tracked down the “emir of Alkhan-Yurt” outside the Chechen capital in the town of Kirov. All residents of the two-story apartment building where Musa Akhmatukaev lived were evacuated. The fighter was ordered to surrender and when he refused, the troops attacked the apartment. The owner and another fighter with him, whose identity has been established, were killed. According to Shabalkin, the Alkhan-Yurt Wahhabi leader was connected with a large number of serious crimes, including the attempted murder of the President of Ingushetia.
All the Article in Russian as of Apr. 19, 2004