Three Islamic militants and an army soldier were killed during a skirmish in the North Caucasus republic of Dagestan, a source at a local law enforcement agency said on Saturday.
The gun battle took place during a law enforcement operation in a forest outside the village of Endirei, 80 kilometers west of the regional capital Makhachkala, said the source, who asked for anonymity. No details were immediately available.
Seven bombs worth a combined 19 kilograms of TNT were found earlier on Saturday in a house in Makhachkala. Police detained 11 suspects in connection with the discovery.
The regular army may rejoin the hunt for terrorists in the volatile North Caucasus region for the first time since 2006, media reports claimed earlier this week. Airstrikes have been reported on the outskirts of Makhachkala on Tuesday.
However, the National Anti-Terrorist Committee denied the reports, while Forbes Russia said that army units stationed in the North Caucasus have been occasionally helping the local law enforcement agencies even after 2006.
Media blamed the tentative army involvement on an upsurge in insurgent activity, but the Kremlin’s envoy to the North Caucasus, Alexander Khloponin, denied it on Saturday.
“There’s no upsurge in terrorist activity, only an upsurge in law enforcement activity,” Khloponin said in an interview to Rossia-1 television. He added that the airstrikes in Makhachkala were part of a military exercise.