A police operation against suspected Islamic militants has turned bloody in southern Russia. It is reported at least two policemen have been wounded.
The three-day standoff came to a head today when officers launched grenades at a building where eight activists are believed to be holed up in the city of Nalchik, capital of the Kabardino-Balkaria region.
The militants are said to include the wives and girlfriends of fighters.
Police believe some of those inside may even be the leaders of the so-called Yamuk group that killed several people and stole hundreds of weapons in an attack on a police unit last month.
Fire broke out inside the building after the police assault.
Russian authorities have stepped up their campaign against Islamic militants in the region, where the decade-long war in nearby Chechnya is spreading.