27 January 2005, 23:41

Operation to destroy rebels is over

The Caucasian Knot correspondent in Kabardino-Balkaria, who spent a whole day at the scene of a special operation to destroy a rebel group in Nalchik, is reporting details of the storm.

Rebels opened quick fire from time to time since 9 a.m., when first explosions had occurred. At about 10 a.m., special operations officers knocked out the door of the flat on the third floor and threw grenades into the flat, and it caught fire. Two of the women who were in the flat died at that moment, some sources say. The rebels opened rapid fire at about 1 p.m. for the last time, and then only explosions were heard sometimes. At 3 p.m., the operation was announced to have been completed.

After it, a press conference was held near the house. Russian Deputy Interior Minister Arkady Edelev told journalists that the special operation to destroy the rebel group had been successfully finished. He said they had succeeded in making the rebel group under the command of Muslim Attayev "go out of the forest". Negotiations were conducted with the members of the extremist Yarmuk jamaat to persuade them into giving themselves up and allowing the women to go out of the room. But they failed. The women have proved to be Shakhids they fired from automatic rifles, Mr Edelev said. Altogether seven rebels were destroyed. Only Muslim Attayev's body has been identified.

Two Kabardino-Balkarian police officers received wounds, but their life is out of danger now.

Earlier, Attayev's three-year-old child had been reported to be in the flat, but the deputy minister denied this information. Altogether three men and seven women were in the flat. The five-story house was destroyed during the operation. The tenants will get temporary accommodation until new flats are allotted to them.

Author: Lyudmila Maratova, CK correspondent;

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