Russian special forces have broken up a militant group that planned a terrorist attack in the North Caucasus city of Pyatigorsk earlier this week, the head of the Federal Security Service said on Thursday.
The militants were also involved in a terrorist attack on Pyatigorsk in August and a terrorist plot uncovered in the city of Stavropol in September, Alexander Bortnikov told President Dmitry Medvedev during a meeting in the president's Gorki residence near Moscow.
"As a result of a special operation, two militants have been killed, four have been captured, and more than 200 kilograms (440 pounds) of explosives and their components have been seized," Bortnikov said, adding that the underground workshop where the explosives were prepared has also been discovered.
"It was established that this gang was involved in the terrorist attack that took place in Pyatigorsk on August 17, when a large number of peaceful citizens died, and in a preparing an attack on Stavropol on September 30," Bortnikov said.
At least 30 people were killed when a car, parked near a cafe exploded in downtown Pyatigorsk on August 17, while two car bombs, with the combined strength of 60 kg of TNT, were defused in Stavropol on September 30.
Local residents' vigilance helped prevent the terrorist attack that was planned to be carried out in Pyatigorsk on October 26 as police discovered a car packed with explosives, Bortnikov said.
The captured militants were sent to Moscow for questioning, he added.
The Stavropol Region city of Pyatigorsk is the capital of Russia's North Caucasus Federal District, which includes the volatile Russian republics of Chechnya, Dagestan and Ingushetia.
Moscow announced an end to its decade-long antiterrorism campaign against separatists in Chechnya in April 2009, but has since had to step up the fight against militants as skirmishes and attacks on police and other officials have continued.
The Kremlin has pledged to wage "a ruthless fight" against militant groups but also acknowledges the need to tackle unemployment, organized crime, clan rivalry and corruption as causes of the ongoing violence.
GORKI (Moscow Region), October 28 (RIA Novosti)