MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian security forces killed eight people including four leading Islamist insurgents in the volatile North Caucasus region of Kabardino-Balkaria on Thursday, federal authorities said.
Police and security officers surrounded a home in the regional capital, Nalchik, and stormed it after the suspected militants inside refused to surrender and opened fire, the National Anti-terrorist Committee said in a statement.
The government forces killed all eight occupants of the home, the committee said in a statement. The dead included four senior local militant leaders and two women who were the wives of militants and also took part in the gun battle, it said.
Insurgents carry out almost daily attacks in the patchwork of small, mostly Muslim regions along Russia's southern border. But violence is less frequent in Kabardino-Balkaria than in Chechnya, Ingushetia and Dagestan further southeast.
Militants in the North Caucasus say they are fighting for an Islamic state in the strip of provinces along Russia's southern border. Rights activists say the insurgency is driven by poverty and anger at the tactics of the security forces.
(Reporting by Thomas Grove and Steve Gutterman; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)