Russian security forces arrest suspect in alleged Beslan backup plan

Russian security forces on Wednesday detained a suspect accused of involvement in an alleged plan to attack a second school if the Beslan raid had been foiled, the prosecutor's office for southern Russia said.

The detainee, identified as Israpil Khaikharoyev, had long been on a wanted list, said Sergei Propokov, a spokesman for the prosecutor's office. Khaikharoyev was detained in the southern region of Ingushetia.

Militants demanding that Russian troops withdraw from Chechnya seized Beslan's School No. 1 in North Ossetia in September 2004, taking more than 1,100 children, parents and staff hostage. About 330 victims were killed, along with what authorities say were all but one of 32 attackers.

Prosecutors said Chechen rebel warlord Shamil Basayev had prepared a backup plan to seize hostages at a school in neighboring Ingushetia if the Beslan raid had failed.

Authorities last year arrested what they said were four of 11 people allegedly meant to carry out the attack. A southern Russian court last week acquitted the four men of involvement in the alleged Beslan backup plan but convicted them on other charges and sentenced them to 17 years in prison, reports AP.

O.Ch.