The head of Russia's Federal Security Service on Tuesday confirmed that notorious Chechen warlord Doku Umarov, long considered Russia's most wanted man, has been killed.
Umarov, who personally threatened the Sochi Winter Olympics in a video disseminated via the Internet, headed the rebel group Caucasus Emirate, which took credit for numerous terrorist attacks as it fought to carve out an independent Muslim state in the Russian North Caucasus.
Among such attacks, the group claimed responsibility for the 2009 bombing of a Moscow-St. Petersburg express train, the 2010 twin Moscow metro bombings and the suicide attack on Domodedovo Airport in 2011, which in all killed more than 100 people.
Umarov's death had many times been proclaimed by the Kremlin-backed head of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, but an obituary in March by the authoritative though rebel-sympathizing news site, Kavkaz Center, was the first time his death was declared by supporters.
Tuesday's announcement by Federal Security Service director Alexander Bortnikov is Moscow's first official confirmation of the death. He said Umarov was killed during a combat operation, but didn't go into further detail.
Bortnikov made the comment in a meeting of the National Anti-Terrorist Committee, during which he said that 13 top-ranking members of terrorist groups had been killed by Russian special forces so far this year, Interfax reported.
He also said that from January through March more than 240 suspected terrorists and their accomplices were detained and that about 250 kilograms of explosive material, 79 improvised explosive devices and more than 500 individual weapons were seized.