Russian forces kill two rebels in Dagestan shootout

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MAKHACHKALA, Russia, Sep 17 (Reuters) Heavily armed Russian soldiers today killed two men described as important rebel leaders during a gunfight in the southern region of Dagestan.

Television images from Kizilyurt, a town west of the regional capital Makhachkala, showed Russian soldiers carrying rifles and wearing body armour creeping into position, behind walls and armoured personnel carriers.

Tanks were shown on television rolling into position and thick black smoke poured from one of the houses in which a local FSB officer said the two rebels had been killed.

Dagestan neighbours Chechnya, which has been destroyed by two wars between rebels and Russian soldiers since 1994. The violence has spilt over into Dagestan and Ingushetia to Chechnya's west.

Attacks and shootouts between rebels and federal forces in Dagestan are far less regular than in Chechnya and Ingushetia, the focus this summer of a sharp surge in violence.

REUTERS SKB AS2029

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