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Violence continues in volatile areas surrounding Sochi

Wednesday, January 15, 2014 | 9:17 p.m. CST

MAKHACHKALA, Russia — A shootout between security forces and militants in the volatile Russian region of Dagestan killed five people, authorities said.

The gunbattle broke out after militants barricaded themselves inside a home in the village of Karlanyurt, Dagestan Investigative Committee spokesman Rasul Temirbekov told The Associated Press.

The fatalities included three security force members and two militants. It wasn't immediately clear if there were other militants at the house.

The village is about 340 miles from Sochi, which will host the Winter Olympics from Feb. 7-23.

One of the slain militants, Marat Idrisov, was responsible for a handful of attacks on security officials and religious leaders in southern Russia, including a bombing that killed three in the city of Pyatigorsk, the National Anti-terrorism Committee said.

Dagestan, a predominantly Muslim republic in the North Caucasus region, has been the epicenter of a simmering conflict between a growing Islamic insurgency and Russian security forces.

A top rebel leader in the North Caucasus has called on his followers to attack the Sochi Olympics, and Moscow has vowed to crack down on terrorist activity before the games.

This is the second string of killings in the past eight days in the volatile regions south of Sochi. On Jan. 9, six men were found murdered in the Caucasus Mountains region city of Pyatigorsk. The cars the men were found in were booby-trapped with explosives, although no officers were hurt in the attempted bombings.

Pyatigorsk is 200 miles in air from Sochi, although it is nearly twice as far by land.


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