MOSCOW, January 21 (RIA Novosti) – A suspected militant leader was killed Tuesday in a shootout with police in Russia’s volatile North Caucasus republic of Dagestan, Russia’s anti-terrorism authority said.
The National Anti-Terrorism Committee (NAK) identified the alleged militant as Eldar Magatov, the head of a militant group in the Babayurt district of Dagestan.
The NAK said in a statement that Magatov was killed in a house in the Kyzylyurt district of Dagestan where he had been hiding from police with two women and two children.
Police negotiated the release of the women and children from the house, but the alleged militant refused to surrender and opened fire at officers. He was killed in the ensuing exchange of gunfire. No police were reported hurt.
Magatov is suspected of committing multiple crimes in Dagestan and neighboring Chechnya, including extortion, bombings and attempted assassinations of law-enforcement and justice officials.
Dagestan has in recent years been the epicenter of an Islamist insurgency in Russia’s restive North Caucasus, with regular armed clashes between militants and federal forces.
Russia is clamping down on terrorist and militant activities in the region ahead of the Winter Olympics in Black Sea resort Sochi, which begin on February 7.
President Vladimir Putin said last week: "Our task is to provide security for participants of the Olympics and guests of this sporting festival, and we'll do everything possible for that."