MOSCOW, August 20 (RIA Novosti) – Nine suspected militants were killed Tuesday during an armed siege at a home in Russia’s North Caucasus republic of Dagestan, counter-terrorism officials said.
“The active phase of the special operation is complete. During the fight, special forces killed nine militants, including the odious leader Bammatkhan Sheikhov,” Russia’s Anti-Terrorism Committee said in a statement.
Earlier statements from the committee suggested that the group of suspected militants had been cornered by security forces inside an apartment in the Dagestani town of Buynaksk, about 40 kilometers (25 miles) west of the region’s capital, Makhachkala.
An emergency anti-terrorist situation was declared in the area, and residents of neighboring buildings were evacuated while the operation was under way, according to the committee.
In addition to the death of the nine suspected militants, two police officers were injured in the firefight, according to a statement by the regional branch of Russia’s Investigative Committee.
Among the nine dead was 17-year-old Khan Karnayev, according to local news website Kavkazky Uzel, who cited a statement by his mother confirming his death in the Buynaksk apartment.
The Anti-Terrorism Committee said the group of dead men led by Bammatkhan Sheikhov had been responsible for the killing of both civilians and law enforcement officials, including an attack on a military base near Buynaksk in 2010.
The deaths come after a particularly bloody few days in Dagestan. Russia’s Anti-Terrorism Committee said Sunday that six suspected militants were killed in law enforcement operations over the weekend, according to Russian media reports.
Attacks on security forces, police and civilians regularly occur in Dagestan, violence which is often linked to an Islamist-led insurgency that originated in the neighboring republic of Chechnya in the 1990s. The conflict in the Dagestan is also fueled by ethnic and political rivalries, as well as poverty and corruption.
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