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Special operation to apprehend suspected militants in Russia's republic of Karachayevo-Circassia has ended
A special operation to apprehend suspected militants in Russia's republic of Karachayevo-Circassia in North Caucasus has ended, a police spokesman Monday. An armed gang, surrounded in an apartment building at around at 5:30 a.m. local time (2:30 a.m. GMT) in the center of the capital, Cherkessk, offered stiff resistance, opening fire and throwing grenades at police and Federal Security Service's (FSB) officers. The apartment was stormed and taken, the spokesman said, adding that two gunmen, believed to be accomplices of Chechen warlords, have been killed and one, a brother of the apartment's owner, detained, according to preliminary reports. The militants were suspected members of a group led by Achemez Gochiyayev, wanted for 1999 destruction of apartment blocks in Moscow, and late warlord Timur Gloov, killed in Circassia this year. The group was involved in killing local police and FSB officers, the local FSB department said in a news release. The besieged apartment belongs to Temerlan Bostanov, one of the main suspects in the case of Ali Kaitov and his 15 accomplices charged with killing seven young people in October 2004. A verdict in the case is set to be announced by a local court later in the day. The corpses of the seven residents of Karachayevo-Circassia - regional lawmaker Rasul Bogatyryov and six of his friends, - who had vanished in the early hours of October 11, 2004 - were found in an abandoned mine near the village of Kumysh, Karachaevsk district. Their relatives said they had headed for the out-of-town house of Ali Kaitov, chairman of Kavkaz-Tsement company and former son-in-law of the president of Karachayevo-Circassia. Witnesses spoke of rifle bursts heard near the house later for about half an hour. Kaitov was arrested on October 25, 2004 under a ruling of the Board of the High Court of Karachayevo-Circassia. Other suspects were also detained. The militants are not the first to be eliminated in Karachayevo-Circassia. A group, which reported to Chechnya's No. 1 terrorist Shamil Basayev, killed in a special operation this summer, was destroyed in May 2005, uptown Cherkessk. In April 2006 local law enforcers eliminated another group, which included Timur Gloov, whose elder brother Idris, believed to be a leader of a Wahhabite cell in Circassia and charged with a fatal bombing of a Moscow subway station in 2004, was killed last year.
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