Posted 5 years ago on April 19, 2013, 9:18 a.m. EST by mideast
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▲▲▲▲WANTED : Dzhokhar Tsarnaev ▲▲▲▲
By KEVIN CIRILLI 4/19/13 8:57 AM EDT
Chechen rebels seeking to create an independent Muslim Chechnia—
in the spotlight now because of the reported background of the two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings — have a history with Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden. Bin Laden backed the Chechan rebels in the 1990s during their civil wars with Russia, with then-Russia Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (the country’s current president) has claimed that bin Laden visited with the rebels. Bin Laden reportedly wanted to help them become an independent Muslim state in the region, The Associated Press reported in 1999.
The Council on Foreign Relations has also said that the “the Islamic International Peacekeeping Brigade (IIPB) is the primary channel for Islamic funding of the Chechen guerillas, in part through links to al-Qaeda-related financiers on the Arabian Peninsula.”
The Associated Press reported Friday that the two suspects — one of who was killed following an early morning police pursuit — in Monday’s Boston Marathon bombings are brothers from a Russian region in Chechnya.
According to the Council, the Taliban was one of the only governments in the world to recognize Chechnya as an independent state. Zacarias Moussaoui — a convicted terrorist involved with the planning of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, was also a recruiter Chechen rebels, The Council on Foreign Relations noted.
Located in Russia’s North Caucasus region, the majority Muslim Chechens are still governed by Russian rule but conflict is frequently violent and tense. In recent years, the Islamic insurgency has taken root in other parts of Russia’s North Caucasus region, including the Russian provinces of Dagestan and Ingushetia.
Chechen rebels are responsible for multiple terrorist attacks throughout Russia.
In 2002, armed Chechens seized a musical theater in Moscow and took hundreds hostage in a multi-day standoff that ended when Russian forces pumped gas into the facility and stormed the theater.
In 2004, they were behind the Russian school hostage crisis in Beslan, in which more than 350 people were killed.
Following the school massacre, Putin publicly warned the U.S. about ties between Al Qaeda and the Chechen rebels, according to The Middle East Quarterly.
Islamic Chechen rebels recently plotted a terrorist attack for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, which authorities uncovered in 2010.
More recently, Chechens supported Syrian rebels.