Moscow: Russian security forces have killed a militant described as a leading al Qaeda operative in a clash in Russia's volatile North Caucasus region of Dagestan, the security service said.
Mohmad Mohammed Shabaan, an Egyptian national also known as Seif Islam, and his Dagestani accomplice, Ibragim Magomedov, were killed during a special operation on Tuesday evening, the FSB security service said.
It described the foreign operative as one of the founders of the al Qaeda terror network in Russia's predominantly Muslim North Caucasus region.
"Seif Islam had been on international wanted list for terrorist activity at the request of the Egyptian authorities," the Dagestan branch of the Russian security service said in a statement.
One policeman was killed in the clash, it added.
In the early 90s, Seif Islam fought in Afghanistan and was also in Sudan, Somalia, Lebanon and Georgia.
Russian authorities have expressed concern about al Qaeda infiltrating the North Caucasus where local militants have for the last years been waging an insurgency against the pro-Kremlin local authorities.
Tensions have been particularly acute in recent months in Dagestan, a region on the Caspian Sea with a patchwork of different ethnicities.
First Published: Thursday, February 04, 2010, 09:49