Chechen warlord Shamil Basayev has claimed last week's attack on the Russian city of Nalchik and blamed heavy militant losses on a leak.
The normally peaceful city of Nalchik echoed to gunfire last week
In a statement carried by a Chechen rebel website, he said Moscow had beefed up forces in Nalchik after details leaked out before the raid.
He said 41 fighters had died along with 140 members of the security forces.
Russia reports killing 91 attackers and capturing 36 while 33 members of its own forces and 12 civilians also died.
Thursday's violence in Nalchik, the capital of the Kabardino-Balkaria region of the North Caucasus, only ended the following day when Russian forces killed or captured militants trapped inside the city.
According to Russia's Defence Minister, Sergei Ivanov, militants posing as civilians had launched their attack from inside the city.
CLAIMED BY BASAYEV
13 October 2005: Militant raid on Nalchik leaves at least 86 dead
3 Sep 2004: At least 320 hostages die when Beslan school siege comes to bloody end
31 Aug: Suicide bomber kills 10 outside Moscow metro station
24 Aug: Suspected suicide bombers destroy two airliners shortly after they leave the same Moscow airport, killing 89
This is in contrast to past operations like last year's attack on a school in Beslan, when fighters arrived in lorries.
In his statement on the Kavkaz Center website, which was couched in Islamic terms, Shamil Basayev said that 217 "mujahideen" had attacked Nalchik, targeting police stations and military installations as well as the airport.
"I had general, operational command," he said, adding that the attack was led on the ground by a commander codenamed Seyfullakh from the Caucasus Front - one of six "fronts" designated by Chechen rebels for fighting Russia.
"Our losses were high because five days before the operation there was a serious leak of information and the infidels brought in an extra 1,000 special forces troops," Basayev said.
Among the militants killed was an Ingush commander called Ilyas Gorchkhanov, he added.
Basayev, who claimed the attack on the Beslan school last year as well as a string of other deadly raids, said the Nalchik operation had been a "great success because our dead are in Paradise and theirs in Hell".