Three police killed in Russian Caucasus: report

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Three police were killed and one wounded Wednesday in a clash with militants in Russia's troubled Caucasus region of Dagestan, the Interfax news agency reported.

An official in the local interior ministry told the news agency that the clash happened close to the village of Agvali as the police were carrying out a search operation in a forest and encountered the militants.

"In the firefight three police were killed and one wounded. Search operations are underway for the militant group," the official said.

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

However, after a second war broke out 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 Northern Caucasus such as Dagestan and Ingushetia.

© 2010 AFP

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