Police officer, three rebels killed in Dagestan

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A police officer and three suspected rebels were killed in a shootout Friday in Russia's Dagestan region in the turbulent North Caucasus area, the country's anti terrorism committee said.

Police had surrounded a house in the town of Tchontaoul in the Kiziliourt district when the alleged rebels opened fire, killing an officer, the Ria-Novosti news agency quoted a statement as saying.

The suspects were killed when police returned fire, it said.

Attacks on governments officials and police are a regular occurrence in the North Caucasus region, and in Dagestan in particular.

After the war in Chechnya (1994-1996) between Russian forces and separatists, the rebellion became progressively Islamist militant and spilled over Chechen borders, becoming active in the whole of the North Caucasus area.

© 2011 AFP

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