Russia’s main anti-terror agency said Friday its forces have killed five suspected militants including a prominent warlord during a raid in the restive southern province of Dagestan, a republic of Russia which has seen a growing presence of Islamic extremists. They were wanted in connection with the Shooting of the FJC’s representative Rabbi Ovadia Isakov.
The National Anti-Terrorist Committee said in a statement that the militants were killed Friday in Derbent on the Caspian Sea. It said that security forces acting on a tip surrounded a house where the militants were holed up. They refused to surrender and were killed in a gunfight.
The Committee said that one of the suspects, Sherif Akhmedov, was the leader of a group of militants suspected of staging a series of attacks on police and other authorities and running an extortion racket targeting local businesses.
Rasul Temirbekov, spokesman for Dagestan’s Investigative Committee, told The Associated Press that Akhmedov is believed to be behind at least 20 terrorist attacks in Derbent in the past two years including bus bombings and a July attack on the rabbi of a the local Jewish community.
Police believe the attack on the rabbi was motivated by anti-Semitism. Dagestan has suffered frequent terrorist violence in recent years, much of it due to the Islamist group Shariat Jamaat and to clashes between Sufi and Salafi Muslim groups.
Dagestan has become the epicenter of an Islamic rebellion that spread across Russia’s North Caucasus region after two separatist wars in Chechnya.