It is becoming increasingly difficult to doubt that there were connections between the June raid in Ingushetia and the Beslan attack—despite the latter’s far harsher tactics. Grani.ru on September 9 quoted sources in the Russian security agencies as saying that the weapons used by the Beslan terrorists included a machine gun, a pistol and eight Kalashnikov assault rifles which had been stolen from Ingush police arsenals during the June raid. Such connections, in addition to the modus operandi common to both attacks —i.e., a well-planned surprise raid deep into the enemy’s rear—also reinforce the theory that the master planner of both was Shamil Basayev. That notorious terrorist warlord specifically claimed responsibility for the Ingushetia raid, distributing a video via the Internet that showed Basayev himself in what he said was an Ingushetian interior ministry arms warehouse.
If Basayev was indeed the mastermind of the Beslan raid, he is now doing something which he is not known to have done before: mounting terrorist operations without publicly taking responsibility for them. Future operations may thus be even more barbaric in their methods.