MOSCOW, October 14 (RIA Novosti) - A total of 24 security personnel and troops and 12 civilians were killed during the militant attack on the North Caucasus city of Nalchik, Russia's deputy interior minister said Friday.
Andrei Novikov also confirmed that 72 gunmen had been killed and 31 detained. Dozens of people were wounded.
The gunmen attacked police and government buildings in Nalchik, the capital of the republic of Kabardino-Balkariya, which is located near Chechnya, Thursday.
On Friday, Russian forces stormed the last militant strongholds, a police station, and a shop. Gunmen were killed and hostages, including some children, were released.
Estimates of the number of militants involved in the attacks differ considerably. Novikov said the figure would be confirmed by about 9 p.m. Moscow time (5 p.m. GMT).
He also said the Interior Ministry could not confirm reports that Chechnya's notorious warlord Shamil Basayev had been behind the raid.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov condemned Ahmet Zakayev, a Chechen emissary and "political émigré" in London, for saying that the attack on Nalchik was the resumption of the fight for Chechen independence.
Novikov said the attack was militants' response to a series of police operations launched in the republic on October 10.
President Vladimir Putin issued an order to kill any militants offering resistance in the blockaded city. He praised security agencies for their work in Nalchik and said the country would continue to take a tough line against terrorism.