June 17, 2016 / 8:21 AM / 3 years ago

Russia says kills Islamist warlord, nine other militants

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia said on Friday it had killed a prominent Islamist warlord responsible for a string of deadly attacks on police officers along with nine militants in a special operation in Dagestan in the south of the country.

Dagestan, where Kremlin critics say poverty and corruption help feed Islamist extremism, is often rocked by shootouts and car bombings. A suicide bomber killed two policemen there in February, in an attack claimed by Islamic State.

Russia’s anti-terrorist committee said four Russian special forces soldiers had been killed and five wounded during the clashes, the result of a joint operation between the Federal Security Service (FSB) and the interior ministry.

It named the slain warlord in a statement as Gasan Abudullayev, releasing pictures of him posing in front of a black flag with Arabic slogans and clutching an assault rifle. It said he and others had been planning terrorist attacks.

Special forces were still working to track down other militants, the committee said.

Dagestan borders Chechnya, where Moscow has led two wars against separatists and religious extremists since the 1991 Soviet collapse.

Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin/Dmitry Solovyov/Jack Stubbs; Editing by Andrew Osborn

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