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RIA Novosti

MAKHACHKALA, March 14 (RIA Novosti) - Federal rangers are besieging bandits in a private house in the center of Khasavyurt, Daghestani town close to the Chechen border. The operation started seven hours ago.

"Two paramilitaries stay blocked at 26 Pobeda Street. They have small arms, and are shooting back at the besiegers. We know they have hand-grenades and suicide terrorist belts," Novosti heard on the telephone from the town police board.

There were three in the house initially. One eventually surrendered. His identity is kept secret in investigation interests.

The rangers have not yet started storming the house. The entire locality was been blocked, said our informant.

The bandits were blocked at about one this afternoon. They refused to surrender, and launched armed resistance. No police and civilian casualties have been reported.

As far as police know, the bandits belong to a gang led by one Jarah, Arab mercenary and rights-hand man of Abu Havs, an Al Qaida functionary, added our informant.

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