12 police, rebels killed in Russia's Dagestan

AP News
Posted: Feb 14, 2013 1:06 PM

MAKHACHKALA, Russia (AP) — Russian security forces tracked down and killed six rebels suspected of involvement in Thursday's suicide bombing that left four policemen dead in the restive southern province of Dagestan, officials said.

An unidentified driver blew himself up after officers at the post just outside the town of Khasavyurt asked him to pull over, killing four officers and injuring another six, Russia's Investigative Committee said. Police said the bomb contained 100-120 kilograms (220-265 pounds) of TNT.

Security forces launched a sweep for the bomber's accomplices and surrounded their hideout near the village of Mironovo in the Khasavyurt region. In the gunbattle that followed, six militant suspects and a special forces officer died, said Amir Amirov, a spokesman for the regional branch of Russia's Interior Ministry.

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Dagestan and other provinces in Russia's volatile North Caucasus have been plagued by an Islamic insurgency which spread throughout the region after two separatist wars in Chechnya. Dagestan has become the epicenter of violence, with police and other authorities frequently gunned down.