The president of Ingushetia is fighting for his life following a June 22 assassination attempt by the same Chechen Muslim jihadist cell which slew over 330 children in a Beslan elementary school in 2004.
Hospital officials in Moscow say Yunus Bek Yevkurov, the president of the former-USSR state of Ingushetia, neighbor of the volatile Islamic state of Chechnya, is in critical condition with burns, brain injuries, and damage to internal organs. A disparate report from Yevkurov's spokesman, Kaloi Akhilgov, said the president suffered only a serious concussion and broken ribs.
The official's convoy was attacked in the provincial center of Nazran by a car rigged with explosives. Yevkurov's sedan was ripped to pieces and two of his bodyguards killed, with shrapnel and blood scattered for hundreds of meters.
The Riyadh-as-Saliheen, a Muslim terror cell, claimed responsibility for the attack on a Chechen separatist website, approximately five years after jihadists from the group attacked an elementary school, holding children and staff hostage, and ultimately murdering more than 300 people.
Link to Gaza terror
Although the violence is taking place far from the Middle East, a 2006 pamphlet put out by the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at the Center for Special Studies (ITIC), a project sponsored by an NGO (non-governmental agency) erected in memory of fallen members of the Israeli intelligence community, revealed a strong link between Chechen rebels and the Gaza-based jihad organization Hamas.
Yevkurov took leadership of the small Muslim country at the behest of the Kremlin in October, as part of its claim to have brought stability and compliance back to the region.
Yevkurov was the third top official to be attacked in the last three weeks in the Muslim separatist area, a zone of Islamic uprising and anti-Western warfare twice in the past 15 years.
A decade ago, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin conducted a major crackdown on Islamic revolutionaries, killing 100,000. However, the assault did not crush the movement. Instead, Islamic insurgency spread to outlying provinces.
Analysts say the attack illustrates the Kremlin's inability to stem the proliferation of Islamic defiance in the area. The attack on Yevkurov took place five years to the day after Chechen and Ingush jihadists broke into Nazran police offices, slaying approximately 90 civilians and police officers, stealing two truckloads of arms, and burning down the Nazran train station and Interior Ministry building.
Since Yevkurov's assumption of power, border security sweeps and crackdowns have been frequent between Chechnya and Ingushetia. The leader was in the process of giving pardons to some jihadists in exchange for an agreement not to resume terrorist work.
The resurgence of Islamic rebellion has claimed three lives in the last three weeks. The deputy chief justice of Ingushetia's Supreme Court was gunned down by terrorists while dropping off her children at a Nazran kindergarten, the former deputy prime minister was shot outside of his Nazran home, and a top police officer was shot and killed by a sniper in Dagestan, as the official attended a wedding.