AP/IWON.com 'reports' below.
Didn't define "linked."
Or, ask Bush's friends in Qatar why the harbored him.
President Yandarbiyev Killed
Feb 13, 9:42 AM (ET)
By JABER AL-HARMI
DOHA, Qatar (AP) - Former Chechen President Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev, wanted in Russia for terrorist ties and linked to al-Qaida, died Friday after an explosion ripped apart his car in the Qatari capital, the Interior Ministry said.
Yandarbiyev, also a poet and children's author, was killed in the 12:45 p.m. blast, which also injured his 13-year-old son, an official at the ministry told the Qatar News Agency.
A doctor at Hamad General Hospital said Yandarbiyev died en route, and his son was in critical condition.
They were the only two people brought to the hospital, the doctor said. Earlier, another official at the hospital had said earlier that two bodyguards were dead on arrival.
The Interior Ministry was investigating the incident, the news agency said. The Russian Embassy had no immediate comment.
Russia has been seeking the extradition of Yandarbiyev, who has been living in Qatar for more than three years. He was considered a key link in the Chechen rebels' finance network, channeling funds from abroad.
His death came one week after a bomb exploded in Moscow's subway, killing at least 41 people and injuring more than 100 others in a suicide attack that President Vladimir Putin blamed on Chechen separatist rebels.
Boris Labusov, a spokesman for Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service, a top KGB successor, said his agency had no involvement in Yandarbiyev's death, according to the ITAR-Tass news agency.
The Interfax news agency quoted Chechnya's Kremlin-backed President Akhmad Kadyrov as saying, "Yandarbiyev was the main ideologue of the separatists, and therefore of the terrorist organizations bringing Chechnya to such severe consequences. He is guilty of everything that has happened."
Arab satellite channels Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya reported that two people were killed in the explosion.
Al-Jazeera said the explosion occurred after Yandarbiyev had prayed at a mosque in the upscale residential area of al-Dafnah, a northern suburb of Doha. He got into his private car, and the explosion went off at a road intersection 300 yards away.
The station showed a badly mangled and burned SUV, with only its white fender still recognizable. Security forces and a sniffer dog worked the area as a body, wrapped in white sheet, was loaded into a waiting ambulance.
Born in 1952, Yandarbiyev became vice president of the Russian republic of Chechnya under separatist president Dzhokhar Dudayev, and served as acting president of de facto independent Chechnya in 1996-97. He headed the rebel delegation to talks with then-Russian President Boris Yeltsin and then Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin in 1996.
Yandarbiyev opened a Chechen embassy in Kabul and a consulate in Kandahar during the reign of the hard-line Taliban militia.
The United Nations last year put Yandarbiyev on a list of people with alleged links to the al-Qaida terrorist network. The U.S. government also put Yandarbiyev on a list of international terrorists subject to U.S. financial sanctions.
Yandarbiyev denied links between Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida network and Chechen rebels.
Russian forces withdrew from Chechnya in 1996 after a disastrous 20-month war with rebels, leaving the republic largely lawless and running its own affairs. Troops swept in again in 1999 after Chechnya-based militants launched raids into a neighboring region and after some 300 people were killed in apartment building explosions that Russian officials blamed on Chechen separatists.
Yandarbiyev was a nationalist poet and children's book author, and he became one of the most prominent proponents of radical Islam among the rebels. He came in third in de facto independent Chechnya's 1997 presidential elections, behind moderate Aslan Maskhadov and fiery rebel Shamil Basayev.
Yandarbiyev is the most prominent Chechen separatist to have been killed since the 2002 death of warlord Omar Ibn al Khattab, who reportedly was poisoned.