Russia claims to kill 2 ‘militants’ in N. Caucasus

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                Moscow, April 11 (AFP/APP):Russia said on Thursday it had killed two “militants” in its North Caucasus region in a “counter-terrorism operation”, state-run news agencies reported.

                  Moscow used to regularly conduct “anti-terrorism” raids in the volatile region following the wars in Chechnya in the 1990s and early 2000s but such operations have become much rarer in the last decade.

                  The National Anti-Terrorist Committee (NAK) had earlier announced the start of a “counter-terrorism” operation in Kabardino-Balkaria in the North Caucasus.

                  Two alleged fighters who planned “sabotage and terrorist attacks” were killed during the overnight operation in Nalchik, the main city in mountainous Kabardino-Balkaria, the agencies said, citing a statement by the NAK.

                  The committee earlier said it had launched an operation to protect “the safety of citizens” after receiving information “on the location of armed people linked to terrorist activities”.

                  “At night, they were blocked by the spetsnaz (special forces) of the FSB on the territory of a garden community within the city of Nalchik,” the committee said in a statement.

                  “In response to a proposal to lay down arms and surrender to authorities, the bandits opened fire on law enforcement officers,” it said.

                  It published images of gun-toting men in uniform in a forested area. AFP has not been able to verify the veracity of the images.

                  The operation came a month after more than 140 people were killed in an attack claimed by the Islamic State group on the Crocus City Hall outside Moscow.