Seven militants die in battle with Russian forces in North Caucasus

Sat May 24, 2014 7:49am EDT

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MOSCOW - Seven militants in the North Caucasus province of Ingushetia died in a three-hour gun battle with Russian security forces after which their hide-out was consumed by fire, the Russian authorities said on Saturday.

Russia is battling insurgents in its largely Muslim North Caucasus region where Islamist groups want to carve out an Islamic state.

A spokesman for Russia's Anti-Terrorism Committee said the militants, who were hiding in a house in the village of Sogopshi, had opened fire on the Russian troops who had surrounded them.

The cause of the blaze may have been an improvised explosive device, he said in a statement.

On Friday, Russia said four militants and a member of Russia's security service were killed during clashes in Karbadino-Balkaria.

In recent years militants from North Caucasus have carried out attacks in other parts of Russia, including a suicide bombing in 2011 in Moscow's Domodedovo airport in which scores died.

(Reporting By Jason Bush; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

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