Investigator, two commandos killed in Russian Caucasus

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Several people including a senior investigator and two commandos have died in separate attacks in the North Caucasus where Russian authorities deployed gunships and mine throwers against militants, officials said on Wednesday.

Two assailants killed Gadzhi Alibegov in front of his wife near his home in the Caspian region of Dagestan on Tuesday, regional investigators said.

"The investigator died of his gunshot wounds on the spot," they said in a statement, saying that his professional activity was the most likely cause for the murder.

Alibegov is the third official from the investigative committee to have been killed in the Dagestan region in recent times, his colleagues said, vowing to continue "to fulfil their duty."

In the same region, two commandos from the FSB security service and three soldiers were killed and several of their colleagues wounded in a sweep against militants that started on Tuesday.

The sweep which saw Russian forces deploy gunships and mine throwers against militants was continuing Wednesday, police spokesman in Dagestan told AFP.

In a separate attack, a policeman was killed in neighbouring Chechnya on Tuesday, regional police spokesman Magomed Deniyev told AFP.

In the nearby region of Kabardino-Balkaria, which has until recently seen fewer attacks, unidentified assailants killed a regional policeman on Wednesday, shooting him through a window.

"He died of gunshot wounds on the spot," investigators said.

Russia is locked in a war of attrition with Islamic militants in the Caucasus following two wars with separatists there in the past 20 years.

© 2011 AFP

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