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NALCHIK, November 10. /TASS/. A group of militants has been blocked in one of the multi-story residential houses in Nalchik, a source in law enforcement agencies of the Russian Kabardino-Balkar Republic in the North Caucasus told TASS on Tuesday.
"A group of militants has been blocked in one of the apartments of a multi-storey residential house. Their number is being verified," the source said.
He added that measures are taken to ensure security in the area. "Residents of nearby houses are being evacuated now," the source stressed.
The counter-terrorist operation regime has been introduced in one of the regions of the Kabardino-Balkar Republic at 11:15am Tuesday.
The press service of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) told TASS that children have been evacuated to a safe place from a school in Nalchik, the capital of Russia’s North Caucasus Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria, which is in the area of the counter-terrorist operation.
"Children have been evacuated from school No.27 in Nalchik, which is in the area of the counter-terrorism operation, to a safe place. Some of them were taken home by their parents," the press service said.
The source also noted that one of the militants blocked in Nalchik may be Robert Zankishev, leader of the group that pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (IS) terrorist organization banned in Russia.
"Robert Zakinshev, the leader of the gang operating in Kabardino-Balkar Republic that pledged allegiance to ISIL [Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant - former name of Islamic State],may be in the apartment blocked in Nalchik," the source said.
The number of militants blocked in the apartment remains unknown, he added noting that security forces are currently evacuating residents of nearby houses.
The Kabardino-Balkar Republic is part of the North Caucasus Federal District. It also comprises Dagestan, Ingushetia, the Karachay-Cherkess Republic, Chechnya, North Ossetia and the Stavropol Territory.
Deputy Director of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) Yevgeny Sysoyev said on Tuesday that a total of seven groups of militants that pledged allegiance to the outlawed in Russia international terrorist organisation Islamic State (IS) have been liquidated in the North Caucasus this year. He addressed an audience at the International Association of Prosecutors’ 7th Central and Eastern European and Central Asian Conference.
However, "the Russian security services and law enforcement agencies in recent years have managed to achieve a sustained decline in terrorist activity in Russia," said Sysoyev, who is chief of staff of the National Antiterrorist Committee (NAC).
"The number of terrorist crimes in Russia as of November 1 decreased 2.5 times - from 74 to 30, compared to the same period last year - not a single terror act has been committed over the year. Over the past five years, the terrorist activity, first of all in the North Caucasus, has declined more than 10 times. The efforts taken by the law enforcement agencies have resulted in the liquidation of the ringleaders of the Caucasus Emirate terrorist organisation that operated in the North Caucasus, which has led to a split in their ranks," he said.