Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 3 Issue: 15

On May 22, Nikolai Patrushev, director of the FSB, informed journalists in Makhachkala, Dagestan that a large bomb that had gone off in Kaspiisk on May 9, killing forty-three and wounding 170, had been set by a group of ten persons reporting to Dagestani field commander Rappani Khalilov (SMI.ru, May 22; Lenta.ru, May 23). According to sources in the Russian special services, “Rabbani Khalilov is the commander of a combined detachment of saboteurs, a relative of Khattab (he is married to the sister of the wife of the ‘Black Arab’) and is considered to be one of the best saboteurs in Chechnya.” In Khalilov’s unit were said to be residents of Dagestan, Chechnya, Karachaevo-Cherkessia and Kabardino-Balkaria (Argumenty i Fakty, May 15). Some Russian journalists, citing the precedent of the fall 1999 bombings, speculated that the FSB might itself have been behind the Kaspiisk event. “In Kaspiisk,” the Prima News Agency wrote, “the bomb had been planted at the border of the road taken by the military parade on the days of tight police security. It may point either to complete heedlessness of law enforcement or to their deliberate inattention to a possibility of terrorist acts” (Prima News Service, May 13).