Police storm militant-held house in southern Russia


ROSTOV-ON-DON, February 10 (RIA Novosti) - Police and federal troops have started an assault on a building in a southern Russian village where a group of militants has barricaded itself in after a shootout last night, local police said Friday.

"Judging by the intensity of fire, five to eight militants could be in the house," a police spokesman said.

The police said earlier that an operation to apprehend a militant group barricaded in two houses in the village of Tukui Mekteb in the Stavropol Territory, which borders on the war-torn republic of Chechnya, had left three police officers dead, two injured, and one missing.

A police source said two militants had been killed and the rest of the group had moved into one house.

The shootout broke out when FSB and police officers were checking information on a militant reportedly hiding in the village. They came under fire when they approached the building, the police said.

About 300 officers and several armored vehicles arrived on the scene to conduct the operation.

The police source also said three civilians, two women and a young man, had been evacuated from a house located near the building held by militants.

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