Source Pravda.Ru

Gunbattle breaks out as police surround apartment in troubled Caucasus city

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

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.

Dagestani Interior Ministry spokesman Abdul Musayev said three armed militants were holed up in one of the building's apartments when police surrounded the building, beginning around 6 p.m. (1400 GMT).

At least one police officer was wounded in the gunfight and was taken from the scene in an ambulance.

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, AP reported. V.A.