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28 Aug, 2010 04:03

New leads bring fresh FSB ops in south

Five militants have been killed during an anti-terror operation in the capital of Russia's southern republic of Kabardino-Balkaria.

The gunmen were cornered in an apartment block in the center of Nalchik during the operation, according to officials. A counter-terrorism emergency plan was activated in the city on Friday evening due to the operation.

The men are thought to be members of a group responsible for previous acts of terror and attacks on police officers in the republic.

In neighboring Dagestan, four alleged militants were killed in a gunfight with police the same day during a separate operation.

However, violence continues in the Caucasus. In the Republic of Dagestan there was an explosion of a car overnight, injuring one person. Also, the head of one of the local election committees was killed.

Still, there have been more successful counter-terrorist operations recently. Last week authorities reported terminating Magomed Ali Vagapov, suspected of organizing of numerous acts of terror, including two blasts in the Moscow Metro on March 29, when two female suicide bombers attacked two Metro trains, killing 40 people and injuring over 100 passengers.

Security services also managed to acquire Vagapov’s archive, containing valuable information on terrorist activities in Russia and, most importantly, exposing his links to international terrorist organizations. The FSB even announced that they had traced the last international call made by Vagapov on his mobile phone, but refused to reveal the country’s name, most likely to avoid international scandal.

The FSB claims they now have all the names of every person in any way connected to the Moscow Metro blasts. They also revealed that the group eliminated in Dagestan was a part of Vagapov’s terror ring.

Dmitry Medvedev has praised security forces on the success of their operations in the North Caucasus, saying militants there have been dealt a serious blow.

The president told the head of the Federal Security Service, Aleksandr Bortnikov, that counter-terror efforts in the region must continue.

He repeated his promise to punish those responsible for March's Moscow metro bombings and reiterated that terrorists can expect no mercy.