Author`s name Olga Savka

War breaks out in Russia's Dagestan

Russian special units destroyed a group of terrorists, who were going to organize a large-scale hostage crisis 

Russian special forces destroyed groups of militants in Dagestan's Makhachkala and Kaspiisk over the weekend. Terrorists planned to conduct a large terrorist act, a hostage crisis. Spokespeople for local authorities said that special services had prevented a terrorist attack, which could be comparable to the Beslan crisis, Interfax reports.

Five guerrillas from Rasul Makasharipov's terrorist group started their raid on January 15th, the Russian Internal Affairs Ministry said. The police detected the gunmen, a battle broke out, as a result of which they seized two private houses and their dwellers on the outskirts of Makhachkala, Dagestan. The terrorists released the hostages later, who told the military men that the assaulters were not going to give up.

When the terrorists released the civilians, local police units and federal forces encircled the houses. The battle lasted for more than 15 hours; the guerrillas were firing back from the basement. A 30-year-old member of the special purpose unit Alpha, Andrei Skryabin, was killed as a result of the operation. Another solder of the same unit, Grigori Milorishchikov, was seriously wounded.

A tank of the Russian Defense Ministry finished the fight, when it leveled the house, in which the guerillas were hiding. The precise number of the killed terrorists will be exposed later, when specialists finish removing the rubble. Abdulmanap Musayev, the chairman of the Internal Affairs Ministry's press service in Dagestan said that sappers examined the ruined house, but found only one hand grenade on the site. “No indications of life were found in the basement, where the terrorists were hiding,” Musayev said.

The body of a terrorist was uncovered from under the rubble on Sunday evening. Spokespeople for the authorities of the republic say that other terrorists could not escape during the operation.

Magomedzadir Akayev, a well-known terrorist, was killed in another town of Dagestan, Kaspiisk, during the weekend too. Russian special units encircled a private house in one of the streets of Kaspiisk, where several terrorists were hiding according to the information from intelligence services. Russian military men stormed the house and destroyed a renowned terrorist Magomedzagir Akayev, who had a bomb belt with him. Another terrorist was taken captive alive. Special services said that the terrorists belonged to the so-called “liquidator squad” commanded by warlord Ruslan Makasharipov, known as Muslim.

Russian special agents say that the body of Makasharipov himself would probably be found in the debris of the leveled house in Makhachkala. The terrorist worked as an interpreter for renowned warlord Khattab and took part in the assault against Dagestan in August of 1999. Makasharipov commanded a group of gunmen that were conducting a guerrilla warfare against Russian police officers and military men in Dagestan. The terrorists have killed over 30 officers and FSB agents in two years.