Russian military officials in the southern republic of Chechnya say security forces have killed a high-ranking rebel leader wanted for allegedly planning a series of chemical attacks.

Russian news agencies Tuesday quote military spokesman Major General Ilya Shabalkin as saying Alash Daudov was among three rebels killed in a gunbattle with commandos south of the Chechen capital, Grozny.

Russian Federal Security Service officials say Mr. Daudov was a key rebel figure, ranking just under radical Muslim militant Shamil Basayev.

Mr. Basayev has claimed responsibility for some of Russia's deadliest terrorist attacks, including last year's elementary school massacre that killed 330 people.

Some information for this report provided by AP.