Russian special forces kill two Islamists in Daghestan

Other News Materials 21 September 2007 15:23 (UTC +04:00)

( RIA Novosti ) - Two Islamist militants have been killed in a special forces operation in Makhachkala, the capital of the North Caucasian Republic of Daghestan, a local security services source said Friday.

According to unconfirmed reports, one of the militants was Shamil Gasanov, the head of the Shariat Islamist group. However, Gasanov's death has already been reported a number of times by Russian special forces, including in January 2007.

The source said two assault rifles and a pistol were captured in the night operation. He added that two improvised explosive devices belonging to the Islamists had exploded during the operation, subsequently starting a fire, but that this had now been extinguished.

One special forces soldier was killed, and another one was wounded in the shoulder during the operation.

A top Chechen warlord, Rappani Khalilov, was also reported killed in another operation in the city Tuesday.

A large-yield improvised explosive device was discovered in Makhachkala Friday.

"The explosive device was combat-ready. If it had been activated in a residential area or on a road, the casualties would have been horrible", an Interior Ministry source told RIA Novosti Friday.

Although the active phase of the North Caucasus anti-terrorism campaign officially ended in 2001, periodic bombings and clashes between gunmen and federal troops still disrupt Chechnya and nearby regions, including Daghestan, Ingushetia, Kabardino-Balkaria, and Karachayevo-Circassia.