Aslan Maskhadov, a rebel leader and former president of Chechnya, has said there is "no justification" for the seizure of the school in Beslan. But he said recent terrorist attacks perpetrated by Chechens were "unavoidable" because of Russia's policies. On Wednesday, Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) offered a reward of 300 million rubles ($10.3 million) for information that could help them hunt down Maskhadov and Shamil Basayev. Russian officials have blamed the pair for "inhuman terrorist acts on the territory of the Russian Federation," including the attack in the southern town of Beslan, near Chechnya, informs CNN. According to USATODAY, wounded Russia threatened Wednesday to strike against terrorists "in any region of the world," offered a $10 million reward for information leading to the killing or capture of Chechnya's top rebel leaders, and criticized the United States for its willingness to hold talks with Chechen separatists. The announcements marked a show of resolve aimed at Russia's stunned citizens, as well as Western countries President Vladimir Putin accuses of hindering its fight against terror, in the wake of three attacks that killed more than 400 people in the past two weeks. In a nationally televised meeting, Prosecutor-General Vladimir Ustinov also briefed Putin on the investigation into the taking of more than 1,200 hostages in a school last week in the southern town of Beslan. His was the first official acknowledgment that the number of hostages had been so high; the government initially said about 350 people were seized. A regional official later said the number had been 1,181. Russian officials have accused Maskhadov and other Chechen rebel leaders of masterminding the attack. According to aides, Maskhadov has denied any involvement in last week's school siege. Russian officials are also seeking Zakayev's extradition from London, where he has been granted political asylum. Authorities also offered a $10 million reward for information leading to the capture of Maskhadov and another rebel leader, Shamil Basayev. "It is a very disturbing signal they are sending for all civilized countries," Zakayev said. He added that it's especially worrying for Chechens who speak freely about their dissatisfaction with Russian President Vladimir Putin's policies. "To Putin, that makes them international terrorists," he said. In February, Chechen rebel leader Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev was killed in a car bombing in the Persian Gulf nation of Qatar. Two Russian agents were convicted for the bombing. Russia has denied involvement in the assassination, publishes Newsday.
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