MOSCOW, July 23. /TASS/. The gunmen who barricaded themselves in a residential house in Nalchik, the capital of the Russian North Caucasus republic of Kabardino-Balkaria, were mulling high-profile terrorist attacks in the republic, the Information Center of Russia’s National Anti-Terrorism Committee (NAC) told TASS on Thursday, adding that the active phase of the counterterrorism operation continued.
"According to the latest data, the gunmen who barricaded themselves in the house were involved in the activities of an international terrorist group. They planned to conduct headline-making acts of sabotage and terrorist attacks on the territory of the Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria in the near future," the NAC said.
Earlier on Thursday, a source in the republican law enforcement agencies said at least five gunmen had been wiped out during the special operation in Nalchik.
Meanwhile, Russia’s National Anti-Terrorism Committee noted that the gunmen had committed a series of terrorist crimes between 2013 and 2015, including murders and attempted assassinations of law enforcement officers.
"Following active investigation measures to detect and prevent illegal activities of members of the criminal underworld and their henchmen, the law enforcement agencies obtained information about the presence of a group of armed persons involved in terrorist criminal activities in one of the apartments of a nine-storey residential building in central Nalchik. "To prevent terrorist attacks, seek and detain the hiding gunmen, head of the republican National Anti-Terrorism Committee operational headquarters decided to conduct an anti-terrorist operation and introduce the regime of a counterterrorism operation from 03:00 Moscow Time in some parts of the city," the National Anti-Terrorism Committee said.
The house where the gunmen were hiding was quickly and effectively blocked by the special forces of the Federal Security Service (FSB) and the Interior Ministry, all necessary forces and means were pulled to the scene. To ensure the safety of city residents more than 200 civilians were evacuated from the area. "In response to the proposal to lay down arms and surrender the gunmen opened fire, threw a grenade and attempted to break through the cordon." the Anti-Terrorism Committee said. "Currently, the active phase of the operation continues. There are no casualties among law enforcers, none of the civilians has been wounded."