Security forces kill 2 militants in Russia

Security forces killed two militants in a gun fight in the province in the southern Russian province of Dagestan, officials said Monday.

Police armed with assault rifles battled the gunmen on Sunday, who were holed up in a two-story building in Khasavyurt, a city in western Dagestan.

According to preliminary information, the militants were killed, said Sergei Solodovnikov, a senior police official in southern Russia.

Investigators believe one of the gunmen was Bulat Abdullayev, a local militant leader wanted on suspicion of organizing terrorist attacks and attacking police, Solodovnikov said.

Three police officers were injured in the fight. Prosecutors have opened a criminal investigation into the incident, the ITAR-Tass news agency reported, citing regional police officials.

The battle came days after security forces laid siege to a building in another district of western Dagestan, killing two gunmen and a police officer.

The Caspian Sea province has been plagued by attacks on law enforcement authorities and other violence, in some cases linked to the persistent conflict in neighboring Chechnya.

Two wars have been fought between federal forces and separatist Chechen rebels, who increasingly have espoused extremist Islamic ideology, reports the AP.

I.L.