5 killed in Chechnya special operation

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Moscow, Dec 16 (UNI) Four militants and one security officer were killed today in a special operation in the Republic of Chechnya in Russia's troubled north Caucasus.

After receiving information about the location of a militant group, special security forces launched an operation at about 1100 hrs local time (1330 hrs GMT) yesterday to detain them by blocking a five-storey apartment building in the Leninsky district in Grozny, Chechen Interior Minister Ruslan Alkhanov said.

The militants put up armed resistance. As a result of combat engagement, one security officer died and three others were wounded, RIA Novosti news agency reported.

Local residents had been timely evacuated from the apartment building and did not suffer during the operation, Mr Alkhanov said.

He said the militants killed in the special operation were responsible for a series of attacks on police in Chechnya.

Chechnya saw two military campaigns in the 1990s-early 2000s, as Moscow sought to restore control over the mountainous republic, ruled at the time by a separatist regime.

Although the active phase of the war is over, sporadic clashes with militants and terrorist attacks are common in the troubled republic, as well as in adjacent republics such as Ingushetia and Daghestan.

UNI

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