21:23 GMT +3 hours27 November 2014
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3 gunmen killed in operation after helicopter crash in Chechnya

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Three gunmen have been killed in an operation in southern Chechnya, where a Russian helicopter with 15 troops onboard was allegedly shot down Friday, a police source in the Caucasus republic said Saturday.
GROZNY, April 28 (RIA Novosti) - Three gunmen have been killed in an operation in southern Chechnya, where a Russian helicopter with 15 troops onboard was allegedly shot down Friday, a police source in the Caucasus republic said Saturday.

"Servicemen of the Russian Defense and Interior Ministries engaged eight armed militants belonging to an illegal armed group active in the Shatoi district," a police source said.

He said no servicemen were injured in the operation, and the bodies were being identified.

On Friday, an Mi-8 transport helicopter crashed in the area, killing 20 troops and crew. Russian military in the troubled republic said it had been shot down my small arms fire. But Chechen authorities cited a mechanical fault as the cause of the crash.

It was the second-deadliest crash of a federal helicopter in Chechnya in recent years, after the downing of a heavy Mi-26 Halo helicopter August 19, 2002, which killed 127 on board.

Fighting in the troubled republic has largely died down in recent years, following two bloody separatist wars, but occasional clashes between local police, federal troops and armed groups still erupt.