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Six killed in ‘counter-terrorist operation’ in Ingushetia

4 March 2024
A room damaged by fire following the shootout between police and alleged ‘militants’. Photo: Russian National Anti-Terrorist Committee.

Six people were killed in a shootout in Ingushetia on Saturday, which local authorities described as a ‘counter-terrorist operation’.

While Head of Ingushetia Mahmud-Ali Kalimatov claimed that only ‘militants’ were killed in the shootout, local news Telegram channel Baza wrote on Sunday that one of the six was a civilian passerby. They added that, according to their information, three law enforcement officers were also injured.

Local Telegram channels reported on Saturday evening that gunfire had been heard in Karabulak, a town in southwestern Ingushetia.

Later on Saturday night, Kalimatov announced on Telegram that a counter-terrorist operation regime was in force in the city on four central streets, adding that the situation was ‘under the control of law enforcement agencies’.

On Sunday, Russia’s National Anti-Terrorist Committee announced that Ingush security forces had besieged ‘six bandits’ in a block of flats, claiming that all belonged to the Islamic State (IS). They also claimed the group were involved in an attack on a traffic police post and subsequent gun battle with police in March and April 2023, which left three officers dead.

Residents of nearby flats were evacuated, with local Telegram channel Mash Gor stating that a temporary accommodation point for evacuees was opened in a nearby school.

The Anti-Terrorist Committee added that the group had fired after officers attempted to arrest them, causing a fire to break out, before all six members of the group were ‘neutralised’. The committee also claimed that automatic weapons, ammunition, grenades, and an improvised explosive device were found at the site of the shootout.

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Local Telegram channels and media reported that the exchange of fire between security forces and militants lasted for several hours, with shooting only ceasing in the morning.

Baza wrote that, according to unnamed ‘security officials’, the group were planning ‘a series of terrorist attacks on Russian territory’, and that they might have taken part in previous attacks on police officers.

Early on Sunday morning, Ingushetia’s Health Ministry stated that reports of civilian deaths and injuries were ‘fake’.

The Head of Ingushetia went on to similarly affirm that there were no casualties amongst either law enforcement officers or residents, and that the counter-terrorist operation regime had been lifted.

The news agency Izvestia, citing its own sources, reported that those killed on Saturday were Amirkhan Gurazhev, Zelimkhan Tsuroyev, Tagir Tsuroyev, Bers Chemurziyev, Mikail Tutayev, and Magomet Barkinkhoyev. Ingush media outlet Fortanga clarified that Zelimkhan Tsuroev and Tagir Tsuroev were wanted on charges of promoting terrorism.

Read in Georgian on On.ge.