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Russia

Report: Chechen rebel leader Doku Umuarov 'dead'

Russia's most wanted man, Doku Umarov, has been killed, a pro-insurgency website has reported. The Chechen rebel leader's group has claimed responsibility for a number of deadly attacks in Russia.

The Kavkaz Centre, which is sympathetic to the Islamist militants' cause, reported his death on its website on Tuesday.

It said Umarov was a "martyr," who had "given 20 years of his life to Jihad." It did not give any details on how or when he died.

Russian authorities have not yet confirmed the reports.

Umarov's Islamist insurgency was seeking to carve out an Emirate from Russia's mostly Muslim southern Caucasus provinces.

His supporters have been blamed for numerous attacks in Russia, including the 2011 bombing of Moscow's Domodedovo airport and attacks on two subway stations and a Russian train.

Last month Umarov called on his followers to sabotage the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi with attacks on civilian targets.

Umarov said he was prepared to use "maximum force" to prevent Russian President Vladimir Putin from staging the Games.

If confirmed, his death would mark a significant victory for Putin's fight against insurgents.

ccp/rc (AFP, Reuters)

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