Russians comb city for militants after attacks

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week “It is bad that such bandit raids are still possible here (in Russia),” Putin said. “It’s a great tragedy that we are sustaining losses among law enforcement officers and peaceful civilians.” Chechen rebels have claimed involvement in Thursday’s attacks on police and security facilities. The fighting in the Kabardino-Balkariya republic near Chechnya has raised fears that Islamic militants who have been fighting Russian forces for most of the past decade were opening a new front in the troubled Caucasus region. Rebels for years have harassed Russian forces in Chechnya with roadside bombs and homemade explosives but the Nalchik attacks appeared to be part of a strategy to target areas outside the volatile republic and keep Moscow off-balance. Russian officials said the 2002 seizure of hundreds of people in a Moscow theater, the 2004 school hostage-taking in the southern city of Beslan that killed 330 and other terror attacks were conducted by the Chechen militants with support and guidance from the al-Qaida. However, no firm evidence exists suggesting the two groups are coordinating their strategies. Chechen insurgents like Shamil Basayev – the main warlord in Chechnya’s decade-old fight against Russian forces – have long infiltrated republics like Kabardino-Balkariya in the mostly Muslim region. Hoping to destabilize state authority, they buy off corrupt officials to get weapons and unleash terrorist bombings or hit-and-run attacks against the police. The Nalchik attacks came amid a long-running regional campaign aimed at undermining nascent Islamic extremism. Human rights lawyers say the campaign has also affected innocent, peaceful young Muslims, alienating and offending them as they rediscover their Muslim heritage. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! NALCHIK, Russia – Russian security forces combed a city of shattered glass and bloodstains Friday, searching for militants amid fears they may have melted into the civilian population to regroup after fierce attacks that left at least 108 people dead. Authorities claimed that all pockets of active fighting had been put down a day after the attacks and President Vladimir Putin promised all such violence will be put down “hard and consistently,” but the bloodshed underlined the spreading violence in the restive Caucasus region. As officials announced successful operations to liquidate rebels on Friday, it became clear that security forces had rescued nearly 20 hostages in various offices around this southern Russian city – and killed dozens of militants. The head of the regional government, Gennady Gubin, said Nalchik, a city of 235,000 people, was being searched for rebels, according to the Interfax news agency. last_img

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