Russia said on Wednesday it had held a top fighter in the Muslim North Caucasus region.
The head of the FSB security services, successor to the KGB, told Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that Ali Taziyev, from the Ingushetia province, was one of the leaders of an envisaged Caucasus Emirate, which seeks to create an Islamic state independent from Russia.
"Today the federal security services conducted a special operation, which resulted in detaining one of the heads of the bandit underworld in the North Caucasus," Bortnikov told Medvedev in comments on official site kremlin.ru.
One of the most populous regions in the mainly Muslim north Caucasus, Dagestan borders Chechnya which declared independency after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 but was attacked by Russian forces in two wars since the mid-1990s.
Still low-level insurgency continues in Muslim states controlled by Russia.
State-run Rossiya 24 television showed a bearded, black-clad Taziyev being forced to the ground and then bundled into a helicopter by FSB officers on Wednesday and handcuffed. On board, he gazed straight into the camera and narrowed his eyes.
Fighters, on unofficial Islamist site kavkazcenter.com, said on Wednesday his capture or death would be "a serious loss from the mujahideen, which can be placed on a par with the loss of leading Chechen and Caucasian leaders of the jihad".
A security forces source in the North Caucasus Federal District told Interfax news agency that Taziyev will now be questioned for information leading to the whereabouts of other fighters.
Bortnikov accused Taziyev of being behind a series of other attacks on public transport in the North Caucasus over the last six years, as well as a suicide bomb attack on Ingush leader Yunus-Bek Yevkurov last year. Yevkurov survived the attack with serious injuries.
ReutersLast Mod: 10 Haziran 2010, 09:51