MOSCOW ø Russia has concluded that at least five Arab nationals
participated in the bloody takeover of a high school in August.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said an investigation determined
that five Arab nationals participated in the Beslan attack by Al
Qaida-aligned insurgents. Ivanov, in an address to the NATO-Russia Council
in Romania on Oct. 14, would not identify the Arab nationals or their native
In September, Russian officials said that at least 10 of the 32
attackers in Beslan were Arab nationals. The Arabs were identified as coming
from Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Syria.
Ivanov told the meeting that the Chechen revolt contained a large number
of Arab and other foreign nationalities, Middle East Newsline reported. He said up to 200 foreigners were
fighting Russian troops in Chechnya.
The defense minister said the attack on the high school in North
Ossetia, in which nearly 400 people were killed, was directed from abroad.
He said Islamic insurgents in Chechnya received significant support from
a range of people and institutions.
Ivanov said despite Moscow's efforts, much of the international
community has refused to stop the flow of financing and insurgents to
Chechnya. He cited the decision by Britain and the United States to grant
political asylum to senior officials in
the government of Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov.
"We must honestly admit that we have not yet been able to achieve a very
high level of coordination in the battle against international terrorism,"