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RIA Novosti

GROZNY, March 14 (RIA Novosti) - Federal forces conducted a special operation in the village of Batash-Yurt in the Khasavyurt district of Daghestan (a republic in the North Caucasus, neighboring with Chechnya) aimed at elimination of a bandit group led by Arab mercenary Jarakh, officials from the regional operative headquarters of the anti-terrorist operation in the Northern Caucasus (ROH) told RIA Novosti.

"Recently, we received operative information indicating that militants from a bandit group, led by Arab mercenary Jarakh, were hiding in one of the houses," ROH sources reported.

Jarakh is a close aide of Al Qaeda functionary Abu Havs. Together with Aslan Maskhadov, he personally participated in the planning and implementation of an attack on a village of Avtura in the Shalinsky district in July 2004.

His subordinates were involved in the killing of police officers in Chechnya and Daghestan, and also in terrorist acts against local population.

During a special operation, bandits offered armed resistance. Two of them were killed in a skirmish with a federal forces unit.

Operatives found weapons, various documents and personal possessions of the bandits at the site.

At present, an operative group is attempting to establish identities of the bandits.

A criminal case has been filed and an investigation is under way, ROH sources reported.

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