Police say kill eight militants in southern Russia

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MAKHACHKALA, Nov 12 (Reuters) Russian police killed eight suspected militants in a special operation in the southern region of Dagestan, the local police chief said today.

The operation was the bloodiest for several months in Dagestan, where Moscow's forces are fighting a low-level insurgency linked to Islamist radicals.

Most of the dead were in an apartment which police special forces raided in the town of Buinaksk, 40 km from the regional capital of Makhachkala, today morning, police said.

''UP to seven people have been killed at the scene of the special operation,'' Dagestan's Interior Minister Adilgerei Magomedtagirov told reporters.

He said another militant had been killed on a nearby street.

There were no reports of any casualties among the police.

Russia has put down large-scale rebel resistance in Chechnya, the scene of two bloody separatist wars since 1994.

But violence, blamed by Russian officials on radical Islamist groups, has spread to Dagestan and other neighbouring provinces.

Reports of attacks on officials and the Russian military, as well as operations by security forces against militants come almost weekly from both Dagestan, east of Chechnya, and Ingushetia, Chechnya's western neighbour.

REUTERS PD RK1512

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