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Pro-Kremlin Chechen Officials: Maskhadov's Body Identified

Officials in Chechnya's pro-Kremlin government say authorities have identified the body of slain separatist Aslan Maskhadov.

Authorities Wednesday said the body will not be handed over to his family. The Interfax news agency quotes a top official as saying the law does not allow the transfer of bodies of terrorists to their relatives.

Authorities say Mr. Maskhadov was killed Tuesday during a special operation in the Chechen village of Tolstoi-Yurt. The separatists have vowed to continue fighting.

The Kremlin had blamed the separatist leader for a number of terrorist attacks, including the 2002 Moscow theater siege and last year's school attack in Beslan.

Mr. Maskhadov was elected president of Chechnya in 1997, but fled in 1999 as Russian troops swept into the area for a second time in a conflict that continues to this day.