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Russian Security Forces Battle Armed Militants In Nalchik

13 October 2005 -- Police and security forces today are battling armed militants in the center of the city of Nalchik, capital of Russia's southern republic of Kabardino-Balkaria.

Reports from the scene say small groups of armed militants launched simultaneous attacks this morning against several targets in the city, including the local headquarters of the Federal Security Service (FSB), several police stations, a weapons store, and the airport. Reports now say children in a school near the fighting were evacuated to safety, although this could not be independently confirmed.

An Interior Ministry official and an AP reporter in the city say at least three of the suspected militants have been killed. There are some reports of civilian casualties but again, this cannot be confirmed.

Kabardino-Balkaria, along with other southern Russian regions, has seen a rise in violence targeting police and security forces, some of it linked to an Islamic extremist movement.

(RFE/RL's Russian Service/Interfax/ITAR-TASS/RIA-Novosti/Reuters/AFP)

Copyright (c) 2005. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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