Russia Says 11 IS-Linked Fighters Killed In North Caucasus

November 22, 2015

Russian officials say 11 fighters linked to the extremist Islamic State (IS) group have been killed in a special operation in the volatile North Caucasus region.

"According to preliminary information, 11 bandits were killed," Russia's National Counterterrorism Committee said in a statement on November 22.

"All of them were participants in an armed gang whose members swore loyalty to IS," the statement said.

The Counterterrorism Committee said the fighters opened fire on law enforcement officers and threw grenades after they were cornered in a wooded area outside Nalchik, the capital of the Kabardino-Balkaria region.

Russian authorities said the security operation was still ongoing in the area.

Russia's North Caucasus region has been beset by violence linked to an Islamist insurgency rooted in two post-Soviet separatist wars in Chechnya as well as organized crime, political disputes, and clan rivalries.

Russian officials said earlier that a few thousand Russian citizens, mainly from the North Caucasus, were fighting along with Islamic militants in Syria and Iraq.

Based on reporting by AFP, TASS, and Interfax