Source AP ©

Clashes between police and militants in Russian region of Dagestan

A clash between police and militants in the southern Russian region of Dagestan killed two officers and three rebels.

The gunbattle occurred Saturday outside the town of Khasavyurt near the border with Chechnya when suspected militants refused to surrender to police and opened fire, regional Interior Ministry spokeswoman Anzhela Martirosova said.

One officer was also wounded, two militants were believed to have escaped and authorities were searching for them, she said.

Dagestan, a mostly Muslim region that is home to many ethnic groups, has been plagued by shootings, bombings and other violence, some spilling over from neighboring Chechnya and some stemming from local disputes and criminal activity.

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