Russian police shoot dead seven militants in Chechnya


FILE: A handout picture taken on April 7, 2016 and obtained from the Russian Defence Ministry's official website on April 8, 2016, reportedly shows a Russian army sapper working in the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra.

MOSCOW - Russian special forces shot dead seven militants in Chechnya in southern Russia after an attack on police officers the previous night, Russian news agencies reported on Sunday.

Moscow has fought two wars with separatists in the mainly Muslim internal republic since the 1991 Soviet collapse. Such shoot-outs have become relatively rare in Chechnya, but the wider North Caucasus region remains volatile with unemployment and corruption pushing some young men to embrace radical Islam.

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Agencies cited Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov as saying seven militants had been killed during a special operation on the edge of Grozny, the capital. A further four militants had been detained, three of whom had been wounded, he said.

Russian news agencies reported earlier that the militants had attacked a policeman on Saturday night, seized his car, and run over another policeman who tried to stop the vehicle. The Interfax agency said the militants had opened fired on police when confronted on Sunday.

One policeman was killed in the shoot-out, the TASS agency and state Rossiya-24 TV channel reported.