Russia kills militants suspected of Christmas attack plan

MOSCOW Sun Jan 6, 2013 5:28pm EST

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MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian security forces in a restive North Caucasus province on Sunday killed three militants suspected of planning attacks on church services during the Russian Orthodox Christmas holiday, authorities said.

Security forces tried to stop a van in the Kabardino-Balkaria province on Sunday but its occupants opened fire and were killed in the ensuing battle, during which the vehicle caught fire, the National Anti-Terrorism Committee said in a statement.

It said that explosives, guns and ammunition were found in the van and that the men who were killed had been planning attacks on churches during services marking Russian Orthodox Christmas, which is on Monday.

The statement gave no evidence to support that suspicion and the account could not be verified.

Deadly exchanges of gunfire between police and suspected militants at road checkpoints are common in Russia's North Caucasus, a string of provinces hit by an Islamist insurgency rooted in two separatist wars in Chechnya.

Kabardino-Balkaria, west of Chechnya, is mostly Muslim but has a sizable Christian minority.

President Vladimir Putin's 13 years in power have been marred by violence in the North Caucasus and attacks by the insurgents elsewhere, and he has called repeatedly for ethnic and religious peace during a new term that started last May.

Putin attended a midnight Russian Orthodox Christmas service early on Monday in Sochi, a Black Sea and Caucasus Mountain resort about 300 km (185 miles) west of Kabardino-Balkaria that is to host the 2014 Winter Olympics.

(Writing by Steve Gutterman; Editing by Jason Webb)

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Comments (3)
Azza9 wrote:
Anyone else find AmericanGuy’s comment confusing?

Actually… I can’t blame it for being confusing. Between the article and A-Guy’s comment. I’m finding it hard to determine who the terror suspects were allied to. The article is alluding to Russian based Muslim extremists, but this guy is talking about atheists who are pretending they aren’t atheists?..

Is americanguy fabricating something? or am I missing something bleedingly obvious?..

Jan 06, 2013 9:55pm EST  --  Report as abuse
GeorgeBrown wrote:
americanguy,

Either you’re a master of sarcasm or you need to get some psychological help!

I’m an atheist and I’m very offended by your comment and shocked that you would even consider posting anything like this unless it’s sarcasm. The Caucasus have been a hotbed of Islamist extremism for years! It’s a combination of nationalism and religion going back hundreds of years.

If your comment wasn’t sarcastic, then please seek the help you so obviously need!

Jan 06, 2013 10:09pm EST  --  Report as abuse
NeilMcGowan wrote:
Nice shooting! These scum need to be annihilated.

Jan 09, 2013 11:57am EST  --  Report as abuse
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