Suspected of Christmas Attack Plan
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...
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.
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