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MOSCOW, March 23 (Itar-Tass) —— A special operation against militants involved in the policemen’s murder on the presidential election day is on in Dagestan, the National Counter Terrorism Committee told Itar-Tass.
Up to three militants were found in Oktyabrskoye, Khasavyurt district, in the small morning hours of March 23, the committee said. “The militants took shelter at a private house,” it said.
“This militant group is very dangerous. According to the National Counter Terrorism Committee’s Operative Staff in Dagestan, the militants are involved in the murder of police officers at a polling station in Oktyabrskoye on the Russian presidential election day, March 4. Hence, a decision to neutralize the group has been made,” it said.
The house was blocked, and tenants of nearby homes were evacuated before the operation started. “The militants were offered to lay down arms and to surrender to the authorities, but they opened random fire. The active phase of the operation continues,” the committee said.
A group of armed people wearing masks attacked a police vehicle in Oktyabrskoye at about 9:10 p.m. Moscow time on March 4. The vehicle was supposed to transport ballots from the polling station. The policemen engaged in a fire exchange and one of the assailants was killed. The others ran into a forest on the village outskirts.
The clash killed Captain Khamil Ismailov, Warrant Officer Aligadzhi Ismailov and Senior Sergeant Shagban Rezakov. The assailants stole their service issue weapons.