ABU DHABI ø Qatar has been rocked by an assassination of an Islamic
insurgency leader linked to Al Qaida.
Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev, former president of Chechnya and linked to Al
Qaida, was killed in a car bombing in the Qatari capital of Doha. It was the
first assassination of an Islamic insurgency operative in the emirate since
Yandarbiyev, 51, was said to have left a mosque in Doha on Friday when
entered his car. The Toyota Land Cruiser blew up after traveling 300 meters,
killing Yandarbiyev and severely injuring the former president's son. The
Qatari A-Jazeera satellite channel reported hours after the killing that
Yandarbiyev's two bodyguards were also killed.
"We are collecting evidence to reach the perpetrators," Qatar's security
chief Mubarak Al Nasser said.
The assassination pointed to Qatar's longtime connection with Al Qaida,
an issue quietly raised by the United States over the last two years.
Yandarbiyev has been living in Qatar since 2000 and during the following
year he said Osama Bin Laden was a friend of Chechnya.
Qatar has harbored such Al Qaida insurgents as Khalid Sheik Mohammed,
the operations chief of the organization until he was captured in March
2003. Another senior operative who lived in Qatar was Abdul Rahim Al
Naashari, who was Al Qaida's chief of operations in the Gulf region and
captured about a year ago.
In 2003, Yandarbiyev, regarded as the ideologue of Chechen insurgents,
was placed on the United Nations's list of groups and people with ties to Al
Qaida. The listing, the first time a Chechen insurgent was placed on the UN
roster, came at the request of Russia.
Western diplomatic sources said Yandarbiyev was believed to have
recruited funds from Gulf Cooperation Council states for the Chechnya war
against Russia. The sources said Yandarbiyev was aided by Al Qaida
sympathizers in the royal families of such countries as Qatar, Saudi Arabia
and the United Arab Emirates.
Qatar has resisted Russian efforts for the extradition of Yandarbiyev.
Yandarbiyev has been on the Interpol wanted list since 2001.