Source Pravda.Ru

Russia: Gunbattle in Makhachkala during police operation

Gunfire and explosions broke out near a five-story apartment building in the Caucasus city of Makhachkala late Monday after police surrounded the building.

An Associated Press reporter saw dozens of heavily armed police and riot officers and three armored personnel carriers in the densely populated neighborhood. Sporadic shooting echoed off the building and hundreds of people milled about looking anxious. Russian news reports said police were looking for armed militants who were holed up in one of the building's apartments. The capital of the Caspian Sea region is routinely rocked by gunfire and explosions, many of which target law enforcement and government authorities.

Much of the violence stems from criminal gangs, as well as fighting spilling over from neighboring war-wracked Chechnya. A.M.