Security forces in Russia’s North Caucasus region of Dagestan killed two people suspected to be linked to Islamic State on Saturday, October 13, officials said.
The two men died in an exchange of fire in the western Khasavyurt region after refusing to surrender, the National Anti-Terrorism Committee (NAK) said in a statement.
“Today, during a search carried out as part of a counter-terrorism operation in the Khasavyurt region of the Republic of Dagestan, the security bodies were tipped off that armed gunmen had been holing up in a private house in the village of Endirey” Tass reported the statement as saying.
Endirey is around 80 km (50 miles) east of Grozny.
The house was sealed off by Federal Security Service (FSB) Spetsnaz special forces units backed by the National Guard and police.
“During a fight, two criminals, who refused to lay down arms and surrender, were neutralized,” the NAK said. “In the exchange of fire, two officers of the FSB special ops unit and one officer of the Russian National Guard were wounded.”
The NAK statement said they were involved in “terrorism-related crimes,” including “the murder of a resident of the village of Toturbiykal in 2017 and the imam in the village of Mutsalaul this year,” as well as the bombing of a mosque and desecration of a grave.
According to Tass, they were also suspected of involvement in the murders of two police officers earlier this year.
“This operation of security forces and law enforcement agencies was the final one to eradicate the criminal activity of Islamic State followers in the republic’s Khasavyurt region,” the NAK said.
The Muslim-majority republic of Dagestan, one of the poorest and most unstable regions of Russia, lies east of Chechnya. It is the target of regular attacks, some of which are claimed by Islamic State. Islamist insurgents in the region pledged their allegiance to ISIS in 2015.
On October 9, FSB Director Alexander Bortnikov said six North Caucasus terrorist attacks were foiled and 50 gunmen killed in 2018.
On September 15, FSB Spetsnaz officers “eliminated” three militants in a wooded area near Talgi village in Dagestan after they refused to surrender.
On June 3, the NAK said security forces “eliminated” a ringleader in a special operation in the Tsumadinsky district of Dagestan.
On April 21, nine people suspected of plotting an attack in Russia were killed in a shootout with security forces in Derbent in Dagestan.
With reporting from AFP