One soldier dead, three wounded in clash in Russian Caucasus

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A Russian soldier was killed and three others wounded in a clash with rebels in the troubled North Caucasus region of Dagestan, a military official told the Interfax news agency Friday.

The casualties took place "during an exchange of fire in a forested region" near the town of Izberbash, the official said.

The Kremlin has been fighting insurgents in the North Caucasus since the collapse of the Soviet Union, waging a war in 1994-1996 against separatist rebels in neighbouring Chechnya.

After a second war in Chechnya in 1999, the rebellion's inspiration moved towards Islam with the aim of imposing an Islamic state in the region.

Although the war ended in 2000, rebels have waged an increasingly deadly insurgency with unrest spreading into other areas of the North Caucasus such as Dagestan and Ingushetia.

© 2010 AFP

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