Russian troops free 7 hostages

Oct. 14, 2005 at 12:55 PM
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NALCHIK, Russia, Oct. 14 (UPI) -- Russian security forces Friday freed seven people taken hostage by militants and killed 11 gunmen.

The troops stormed two militant hideouts in the city of Nalchik in the North Caucasus region Friday, Interfax news agency reported.

"The resistance of militants in Nalchik has been suppressed and all the hostages have been freed. Law enforcement agencies are carrying out a sweep operation in the city to find any militants who might be hiding there," Gennady Gubin, prime minister of the Kabardino-Balkaria republic, told Interfax.

About 150 militants attacked police stations and the building of the regional Interior Ministry and the security service in Nalchik, regional capital of Kabardino-Balkaria, taking hostages and trading fire with security forces Thursday.

Russian troops stormed the regional Interior Ministry building where militants were hiding on Friday morning. The troops freed five hostages and killed eight militants there, Russian Deputy Prosecutor General Vladimir Kolesnikov told Interfax.

Security forces also freed two hostages in a souvenir shop in central Nalchik and killed three militants there, Russian news agencies reported.

In two days of crossfire, 72 militants were killed and 31 others were detained, Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev told President Vladimir Putin at a meeting. Nurgaliyev said 24 policemen and 12 civilians also died in the rebel attack.

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