Security forces have stormed an apartment in Cherkessk, in the south of Russia. Officials say at least one person was killed and two arrested in the raid. Earlier, there was an exchange of fire between police and people holed up in the apartment, who local officials described as Islamic militants.
The siege in Cherkessk, west of Chechnya, is the latest in a string of similar operations across the region. A Russian Federal Security Service spokesperson, Anna Lyzina, said the militants were linked to the murders of police and security officers in the area. She said the dead gunman was a follower of criminal Atchemez Gotchiaiev, suspected of carrying out terrorist explosions in Moscow in 1999.
“The operation continues. The bandits responded to a suggestion to surrender with heavy gunfire,” Lyzina said.
The region of Karachayevo-Cherkessia has seen frequent violence. Some say it is gang-related. Others say it is a spillover from separatist fighting in the republic of Chechnya.