Pilots of Russia airliners blinded by laser
Pilots of two Russian airliners landing in the southern Russian city of Rostov were temporarily blinded by a laser aimed from the ground on Friday, police said.
Both aircraft, which had been en route to the Black Sea port city from Moscow's Vnukovo airport, landed safely, the Interfax news agency reported.
Police believe that insurgents in the Caucasus region were responsible for this and other recent laser attacks, DPA reported.
A laser aimed at a plane en route to Rostov on June 8 blinded both pilots aboard the aircraft and forced an emergency landing. Another plane approaching Rostov was hit by a laser on June 3.
Rostov is in lowlands adjacent to the Caucasus, a rugged territory where mostly Islamist insurgents have battled Kremlin rule since the early 1990s.
Also Friday, a senior police officer was killed in Kabardino-Balkaria when a police patrol encountered gunmen in the mountain town of Tyrnyauz.
The victim was hit several times by automatic weapons fire, according to news reports.
Heavily armed police were searching forests and making house-to-house checks in the vicinity, an army spokesman said.
Russian soldiers are conducting searches and patrols near the village of Kuznetskovka in the nearby province of Dagestan. Russian army forces and an estimated 30 insurgents fought a two-day battle there that left at least five Russian troops and two insurgents dead.
Most of the insurgents, who attacked an isolated road checkpoint on Tuesday morning, had probably evaded army patrols and left the vicinity, military spokesmen said.