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Thursday, May 5, 2011     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

Russian special forces kill top Al Qaida operative in Chechnya

MOSCOW — Russia has reported the killing of Al Qaida's commander in Chechnya.


Officials said Abdullah Kurd was killed in a Russian special forces operation in Chechnya. They identified Kurd as Al Qaida's liasion to the North Caucasus, who helped recruit and transport fighters to Russia.

"In the Chechen Republic, Abdullah Kurd was a member of the so-called Arab groups of Al Qaida under the command of Khattab, Abu Al Walid and Abu Hafs, whose criminal activity was suppressed before by the Russian Federal Security Service with the participation of law enforcement officers," Russia's National Counter-terrorism Committee said.

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In a statement on May 4, the committee said Kurd was the latest Al Qaida commander in Chechnya. The panel said Kurd, who began operating in the region in 1991, coordinated the arrival of fighters and funds.

This marked the second reported killing of Al Qaida's liasion to Chechnya. On April 22, the committee said Russia killed Al Qaida's commander in Chechnya, a Saudi national identified only as Mohanad. The latest announcement did not suggest that Mohanad and Kurd were the same person.

Kurd was said to have worked with Doku Umarov, overall Islamic commander in the North Caucasus. The committee statement said Kurd coordinated the flow of insurgency funds.

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