February 11, 2009 / 6:43 PM / 10 years ago

Police kill 7 in south Russia firefight - agency

MOSCOW, Feb 11 (Reuters) - Interior Ministry troops shot dead seven suspected rebels on Wednesday in a firefight in Russia’s North Caucasus region of Kabardino-Balkaria, Interfax news agency said, quoting local law enforcement.

The fighting began when the troops attempted to raid a suspected rebel hideout in a forested mountain area of the province, which is located just west of the restive regions of Ingushetia and Chechnya, the report said.

"During an attempt to arrest them, the criminals offered armed resistance. Seven bandits were killed when fire was returned," Interfax quoted an Interior Ministry official as saying.

Two wars in nearby Chechnya since 1994 have impoverished and scarred the North Caucasus, and sporadic violence across the region happens almost daily, but attacks in Kabardino-Balkaria are less frequent than other provinces. (Writing by Conor Humphries; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)

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