MOSCOW, March 21 (Itar-Tass) – Police destroyed an unspecified number of gunmen in a special operation in the outskirts of Makhachkala, Dagestan, on Thursday. The gunmen were involved in the murder of the republic's deputy police chief in 2005, a representative of the National Antiterrorist Committee /NAK/ told Itar-Tass.
On Wednesday, Federal Security Service agents and police blocked several houses in Moskovskaya Street in the village of Semender, in which gunmen could be hiding.
"It is known that head of the Gimri gang Ibragim Gadzhidadayev and members of his gang are involved in a series of audacious and cruel crimes committed in Makhachkala and in Dagestan's Untsukulsky district. They murdered Dagestan's deputy interior minister in 2005 and three policemen who were accopanying him, and nine residents of the village of Gonoda, Gunibsky district in 2007.
The gang leader was involved in 30 murders of police, prosecutors, legislators, and representatives of administrations and other government bodies.
"He also committed robberies, extorted money from business persons and engaged in abductions," the NAK official said.
Law-enforcement forces succeeded in taking measures towards easing the tensions caused by provocative statements by certain citizens, who had actually abetted the gangsters. They reproached police for "inadequate measures, tried to force their way through police cordon and provoke riots," the NAK added.
Prior to the operation, the authorities evacuated the tenants from the nearby buildings. Four women, two adolescents and five children were taken out of the area of possible clash.
The gunmen holed up in a house were offered to surrender. Special task forces stormed the building at 22:00 on Thursday. "The gunmen in the bunker were neutralized in a night-long shootout. An FSB agent was killed and another two officers were wounded in the operation. Another law-enforcer is missing.
Earlier, a law-enforcement source told Itar-Tass that three gunmen had been destroyed.
Dagestan's Deputy Interior Minister Magomed Omarov was gunned down in Makhachkala on February 2, 2005. He was in charge of public security police. His motorcade came under fire in Makhachkala's Lenin Street in the evening. The motorcade was fired upon from two positions. Omarov's three guards were killed, too.