Akhmed Abastov , the head of administration of a district to which the village of Iliskhan-Yurt belongs, upon returning from the scene of the attack an hour after the tragedy, told Gazeta.Ru he had seen with his own eyes how six people died, and two others had their legs torn off in the explosion.
A representative of the press service of the head of the administration of the Chechen Republic reported on Thursday morning that the death toll after the attack had reached 26. Of them 12 people died on the spot, and about 140 people were wounded. The press service also reported the casualties among Kadyrov’s men. "According to various sources, 5 to 7 personal guards of Chechen leader Akhmad Kadyrov were killed," the report said.
Akhmad Kadyrov, the strong supporter of the Kremlin line, and one of the likeliest candidates to become the president of Chechnya by the end of this year. He stood meters away from the centre of explosion, but managed to escape unhurt, as his bodyguards shielded him with their bodies. Several of the bodyguards were killed, but the majority of other victims were civilians including children and elderly people. Two women terrorists lost their lives in the attack, albeit it was just one bomb that exploded.
The suicide bomber was identified as a 46-year-old Shakhida Baimuratova, a resident of Gudermes, whose husband was killed in 1999. The woman had explosives tied to her belt. Her body was almost fully destroyed in the blast. “Only her head remained after the explosion,” Kadyrov’s press-service said.
Some 15,000 Chechens arrived in Iliskhan-Yurt on Wednesday to take part in the festival. The head of the Chechen administration Akhmad Kadyrov, too, attended the gathering. As he was addressing the crowd from a stage, urging the Chechen people to pray for peace in their war-torn homeland, his bodyguards noticed a woman slowly approaching him and rushed to her, Kadyrov’s Moscow representative Edi Isayev told the press afterwards.
According to some reports, the woman sought to talk to Kadyrov about her sons who had disappeared during security sweeps. Chechen authorities are convinced that the terrorist intended to kill Kadyrov himself. “This was without doubt an attempt to assassinate Kadyrov and all religious figures who support Putin’s peace plan,” Edi Isayev said.
Sergei Fridinsky, Deputy Prosecutor General for the Southern federal district, which includes Northern Caucasus, however, said it was too early to say the attack was aimed at Kadyrov. “If the suicide bomber wanted to do that [kill Kadyrov] she would approach him, and not go into the crowd,” said the senior prosecutor, who arrived in the republic two days earlier to investigate the Monday terrorist attack in the town of Znamenskoye.
Fridinsky said criminal proceedings in connection with the Iliskhan-Yurt attack have been launched not under the article of the Criminal Code envisaging punishment for an attempt on life of a state official, but under articles 205 and 105 – “Terrorism” and “Premeditated Murder” respectively.
Investigators believe that the bomber, Shakhida Baimuratova, was a rebel fighter and belonged to a group of independence fighters loyal to rebel warlord Shamil Basayev. Her accomplice, whose identity is yet to be established, is believed to have belonged to the same group.
Russian security service officials allege that Chechen suicide bombers receive training from a Saudi citizen, Abu Walid. According to some reports, attacks in Iliskhan-Yurt and in Znamenskoye on Monday could be carried out by his trainees and the funding was provided from abroad. Chechen rebels received $1 million from abroad a week ago, Russian prosecutors said.
On Monday three suicide bombers drove a truck loaded with explosives into a government office complex in Znamenskoye, a relatively peaceful part of the region in the north. The total of 59 people, mostly civilians, were killed in the attack.
15 МАЯ 12:21