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Basaev Claims Responsibility For Ingush Raids

27 July 2004 -- A key Chechen separatist commander has claimed responsibility for last month's raids on Russian government targets in Ingushetia.

Shamil Basaev claims in a videotape posted on a Chechen separatist website today that "Chechen and Ingush mujahedin" carried out what he called the "joint operation" targeting law enforcement officers.

The video shows Basaev dressed in fatigues and walking around what he said was the Interior Ministry warehouse during the attacks.

There is no independent confirmation of Basaev's claim.

However, a Russian government official said today that the tape could be genuine. Sergei Koryakov, the head of Ingushetia's FSB security service, said "the aired shots could be used as evidence of what happened."

In the well-organized raid overnight on 22 June, hundreds of rebels attacked police and government targets in Ingushetia and killed more than 85 people. Ingushetia borders Chechnya.