Russia kills three in N.Caucasus raid: official

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Russian security forces killed three people in a raid in the turbulent Dagestan region in the North Caucasus, including a militant organizer blamed for several recent attacks, officials said Sunday.

Two militants and an accomplice were killed in the raid of a residential house near Buinaksk, Dagestan, including militant ring leader Nabi Migitdinov, the National Anti-Terror Committee (NAC) told Interfax.

Migitdinov has been implicated in several attacks, including a police post and a sauna in Buinaksk, a city about 40 kilometres (25 miles) from Dagestan's capital Makhachkala, which killed 11 people, in August, NAC said.

The attack on August 13 killed four policemen at the post, and seven women in the sauna, meters (yards) away from the police station.

The owner of the house was killed along with two militants after negotiations failed to convince him to surrender, NAC said: "He did not come out of the house and did not pick up the phone."

The violence in Dagestan, the North Caucasus' most populous region bordering Chechnya, has rattled the Kremlin with near daily attacks that have taken scores of lives of both police and bystanders.

The Kremlin has been fighting insurgents in the North Caucasus since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, waging a war in 1994-1996 against separatist rebels in Chechnya, which neighbours Dagestan to the west.

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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