Russia’s main anti-terror agency said Friday that its forces killed five suspected terrorists, including a prominent warlord, during a raid in the southern province of Dagestan, a republic of Russia which has seen a growing presence of Islamic extremists.
The National Anti-Terrorist Committee said in a released statement that the terrorists were shot Friday in the city of Derbent, located on the Caspian Sea. The security forces, acting on a tip, surrounded a house where the terrorists were holed up. The terrorists refused to surrender and were subsequently killed in a gunfight.
The Committee said that one of the suspects, Sherif Akhmedov, was the leader of a group of terrorists 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 Rabbi Ovadia Yaskov of a local Chabad synagogue.
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.