Violence escalates in Russian North Caucasus

Police in Russia’s south killed two suspected militants Jan. 7 in a “counter-terrorism operation” launched in response to a checkpoint suicide attack that took the lives of six officers. The area on the outskirts of Makhachkala, the capital of Dagestan, has been under curfew since the attack. Dagestan, Ingushetia and Chechnya, all predominantly Muslim republics in the North Caucasus, saw a sharp rise in violence last year, with near-daily attacks mostly targeting police and other officials. The violence sweeping the impoverished southern region is increasingly described as a civil war between Kremlin-supported administrations and Islamic militants. (AP, Jan. 7) A Dec. 18 suicide car attack on a group of police and soldiers in Nazran, Ingushetia, wounded at least 23 people, including civilians. (AP, Dec. 18)

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