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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Newspaper: A Dozen Accomplices Identified

About a dozen members of the Chechen guerrilla group that seized the Moscow theater have been identified but remain at large, a newspaper reported Monday. Prosecutors said none of them had been among the hostage-takers in the theater.

"Ten to 12 of them are still at large but we know all about them, their names, nicknames and possible contacts," Alexander Gorelov, head of the organized crime unit with the Moscow police, was quoted by Gazeta as saying.

Gorelov did not name the suspects but said that they had been planning a series of other attacks in the capital.

Gorelov refused to comment Monday.

The Moscow prosecutor's office said the suspects were accomplices, not hostage-takers, in the theater siege, which left the group's leader, Movsar Barayev, and 40 other guerrillas dead.

"There is no information in the case's paperwork about any terrorists who seized the theater and managed to escape," Deputy Moscow Prosecutor Vladimir Yudin told Interfax. "Investigators are trying to find the accomplices."

Interior Minister Boris Gryzlov said last week that some of the accomplices were suspected of planting a car bomb that detonated at a McDonald's restaurant near the Yugo-Zapadnaya metro station four days before the theater siege, killing one. Gryzlov said the blast, which was initially blamed on a criminal business dispute, was the first of four attacks planned by Barayev's group.

Kommersant, citing unnamed police sources, reported Monday that the McDonald's blast had been planned by three men and two women hired to carry out a series of explosions in the capital. The newspaper said the five purchased explosives and planted them in several old cars around the city.

One of the five, 27-year-old Dagestani native Aslan Murdalov, was detained a few days after a homemade bomb packed with the equivalent of 5 kilograms of TNT and hidden in a Ukrainian-made Tavria hatchback exploded at the McDonald's, the report said.

Fearing that Murdalov had been arrested, his partners defused the bombs in the other cars and fled to the city of Ivanovo, where they were later detained, Kommersant said.

It was unclear Monday what charges, if any, have been brought against Murdalov and the other suspects.

Vremya Novostei identified two of the partners as brothers -- Alikhan Mezhiyev, 24, and Akhyad Mezhiyev, 33, of Meskhety, Chechnya. The newspaper said Alikhan Mezhiyev was suspected of driving the car to McDonald's.

Both newspapers said the police had found most of their evidence against the suspects in a garage on Ogorodny Proyezd in northern Moscow, where the group was believed to have stored arms. Police found weapons and explosive devices in the garage similar to those brought by the hostage-takers to the theater, the reports said.

Meanwhile, 39 former hostages remained hospitalized Monday, city health committee spokeswoman Lyubov Zhomova said.

She said five of them were in critical condition.