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14 May, 2009 09:39

Clashes rock Russian republic of Dagestan

It is the second day police and security forces have been involved in a gunfight with alleged militants in the forests of the Southern Russian Republic of Dagestan.

Interfax reports the operation is now entering its final stage.

According to Russia's federal security department (FSB) one officer was killed and four others injured during the operation on Wednesday. The number of militants who died during the clashes has risen to four, including the group's leader.

The operation is continuing to round up those still in the forest.

“Our headquarters are still receiving reports of dead bodies being found in the area. There are still several pockets of resistance within the forest,” an FSB representative told Interfax.

The forest in which the confrontation is taking place is located near the republic’s capital Makhachkala.

Security has been tightened up in the area during the counter-terrorism operation. According to ITAR TASS, there are at least ten militants in the group which has been eliminated by FSB forces.

The militants, according to ITAR TASS, have been planning terrorist acts against military forces and police.

Shootouts with alleged militants are frequent in the ethnically and culturally diverse region.