The man suspected of organising suicide bombings that killed 40 people on the Moscow subway in March was killed in a shootout with Russian security forces on Saturday, officials said.

Madomedali Vagabov was killed along with four others during a gunfight with special forces in the province of Dagestan, local police spokesman Vyacheslav Gadzhiyev told The Associated Press.

The suspects were killed when the house they were holed up in caught fire, Mr. Gadzhiyev said.

The National Antiterrorism Committee told Russian news agencies that Vagabov was effectively second in command in the separatist insurgency in Russia’s mountainous North Caucasus region. The head, Doku Umarov, claimed responsibility for the subway attacks, carried out by two female suicide bombers.

State television said one of the suicide bombers had been married to Vagabov. It showed the immediate aftermath of Saturday’s clash, a smouldering, half-destroyed stone house in a picturesque valley. Security forces in camouflage paced around the bodies.

Umarov has evaded capture in the forested mountains of the region. He announced this month he was stepping down as leader, but later backtracked.

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