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6 Mar, 2010 12:09

Body of gang leader responsible for Nevsky Express bombing identified

Russian authorities have positively identified the body of Said Buryatsky, the gang leader from the North Caucasus blamed for bombing the Nevsky Express train in November that killed 28.

Aleksandr Bortnikov, the head of Russia's federal security service, confirmed to President Dmitry Medvedev that Buryatsky, who also goes by the name of Alexander Tikhomirov was killed during a special operation in the Russian Republic of Ingushetia on March 2.

“DNA tests of the militants have been carried out to establish their involvement in the derailment of the Nevsky Express in November 2009. These materials allow us to consider them guilty of this crime," Bortnikov told Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

Aleksandr Tikhomirov

Said Abu Saad al-Buryati (Aleksandr Tikhomirov aka Said Buryatsky)
Born in 1982 in Russian Republic of Buryatia
Father: Buryat, Mother: Russian
1997 – turned to Islam
2002-2005 – Studied Sunni Islam in Madrassas in Egypt, Yemen and Russia
2008 – Joined militants in Ingushetia, subordinate to warlord Doku Umarov. Personally participated in organizing several terrorist attacks in the North Caucasus and Russia.

The Nevsky Express high-speed train partially derailed on November 27, 2009 after a bomb equivalent to 7 kg (15 lbs) of explosives detonated on the track, killing 28 people and injuring almost 100 others.

In the course of the operation, 10 members of the group were arrested and 8 bandits killed in a firefight.

Bortnikov also added that an underground explosive device laboratory was found, along with more than one ton of explosive materials and a great amount of weapons and ammunition at the site of the operation in Ingushetia's Nazran district.

Investigators said the leading militant in southern Russia masterminded many terrorist attacks in addition to the Nevsky Express attack, including an assassination attempt on the President of Ingushetia, Yunus-Bek Yevkurov.

Chechen President Ramzad Kadyrov named Said Buryatsky “the main ideologue terror chief” and accused him of personally training a suicide bomber that attempted to assassinate Kadyrov on July, 26, 2009.

It was also once believed that Buryatsky had acted as a suicide bomber himself when, in August of last year, a small truck loaded with up to 1,000 kilograms of explosives breached the territory of the Nazran police department and exploded, killing 25 police officers and wounding another 250.

Two days later, though, Said Buryatsky personally refuted the claims, saying it was not him, which means he had sent another militant to die in his place in the name of the jihad he preached.

Journalist Maksim Shevchenko says Tikhomirov was influential among the militants and his death will damage the terrorist forces.

“He didn't influence the decision-making, but he commanded respect and authority for his ideological rhetoric among the young people,” Shevchenko told RT. “All his speeches were targeting new recruits for militant groups. They were powerful messages, because he had a profound knowledge of The Koran, literature and philosophy. All this rhetoric was aimed at inciting war, at promoting suicide killings. So I think his death will deal a serious blow to the ideological wing of the terrorist network.”