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2 ISIS-linked militants killed in security operation in North Caucasus, Russia (VIDEO)

2 ISIS-linked militants killed in security operation in North Caucasus, Russia (VIDEO)
Russia’s security services have killed two militants from a ‘sleeper cell’ kinked to Islamic State in the North Caucasus region. The militants were reportedly planning to carry out terrorist attacks, including killing religious figures.

The operation took place in the Stavropol Region of the North Caucasus in southwestern Russia on Friday evening, Russia’s National Anti-Terrorist Committee (NAC ) said in statement, as cited by Russian news agencies. 

The fighters belonged to a so-called “sleeper cell which pledged allegiance to Islamic State [IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL],” the statement said.

According to the committee, shooting broke out when officers attempted to stop the militants’ vehicle and they opened fire.

“Those in the car opened fire from an automatic weapon and tried to escape. The two criminals were neutralized [killed] with retaliatory fire,” the statement said.

NAC said that the “neutralized bandits” have been preliminary identified.

“One was the leader of a cell” who was “trained in Islamic State camps and returned to Russia to carry out terrorist acts. The other was an active cell member,” the committee said.

Information from NAC suggests that the militants were planning to carry out attacks “including killings of religious figures and other civilians.”

Russian security services found bomb making components and an automatic gun in the militants’ vehicle, and grenades, an explosive device, a pneumatic gun, IS symbols, and books on extremist topics in one of their homes. The Federal Security Service (FSB) defused the explosive devices found on the site.