People who personally knew Chechen militant leader Doku Umarov's fighters examined the bodies of militants killed in a special operation but did not identify Umarov among them, a high-ranking law enforcement source said Tuesday.
The source said a DNA test will prove whether it was Umarov who was killed.
Seventeen militants were killed on Monday in a raid on a base in the volatile Russian North Caucasus republic of Ingushetia used by Islamist insurgents to train suicide bombers, Russia's antiterrorism committee said. The operation involved ground forces and air strikes. Three Russian servicemen were also killed.
Russian forces said Umarov could have been among those killed during fighting in the region, the Kommersant daily reported earlier on Tuesday.
Umarov, who has styled himself as the Emir of the Caucasus Emirate, claimed responsibility for the March 2010 twin suicide bombings on the Moscow subway, in which 40 people died. He is also said to have ordered a deadly bomb attack on Moscow's Domodedovo International Airport in January that claimed 37 lives.
There have been several false reports of Umarov's death in recent years, including speculation that he had been killed in an airstrike in Chechnya at the turn of the year.
MOSCOW, March 29 (RIA Novosti)