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Russian security forces battle militants before Olympics

Russia Sochi Rogge
(Reuters) - Three Russian servicemen and four gunmen were killed in a shootout in southern Russia on Wednesday during a sweep for militants before the Sochi Winter Olympics.

Russia's National Anti-terrorism Committee (NAC) said the dead gunmen included a man accused of carrying out a car bomb attack in the city of Pyatigorsk late last year which killed three people.

Russia in on high alert following two suicide bombings in southern Russia last month that fuelled security concerns before the Olympics, which Islamist militants waging an insurgency in the North Caucasus have threatened to attack.

President Vladimir Putin has staked a lot of personal and political prestige on the success of the Games, which open on February 7, and has put security forces on combat alert in Sochi.

The NAC said in a statement that a group of militants had been trapped in a house in the village of Karlanyurt in the Dagestan region of the North Caucasus. Five officers were also wounded in what a spokesman called a special operation.

Dagestan's capital, Makhachkala, is about 620 km (385 miles) east of Sochi. The mostly Muslim region is plagued by bombings and shootings that mainly target police and state officials as part of the militants' fight to create an Islamist state.

At least 34 people were killed last month in the suicide bombings in the southern city of Volgograd. Putin ordered safety measures to be beefed up nationwide after the attacks.

About 37,000 personnel are now in place to provide security in Sochi, which is on the Black Sea and on the western edge of the Caucasus mountains, and the International Olympic Committee has expressed confidence the Games will be safe.

But, underlining the danger of attacks, security forces said on Saturday they had arrested five members of a banned militant group in southern Russia and defused a homemade bomb packed with shrapnel.

The main spokesman for Russia's Investigative Committee, whose responsibilities include looking into bombings and other attacks, appealed to civilians on Tuesday to be more vigilant and help avert the threat of "terrorist" attacks.

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Cindy January 15 2014 at 10:32 AM

I think terrorists will target the Olympics.
I would think twice about bringing families to the Olympics.
Sorry, but the Olympic Committee should have thought twice about selecting this hotbed for terrorists' activity as a site.

Flag Reply +9 rate up
uphillskr January 15 2014 at 12:19 PM

I do not have a good feeling about these games.

Flag Reply +16 rate up
2 replies
Jess uphillskr January 15 2014 at 12:22 PM

Agreed!

Flag Reply +3 rate up
Hi Barbara uphillskr January 15 2014 at 12:55 PM

Me either...:(

Flag Reply 0 rate up
ENCONPOPPY January 15 2014 at 9:51 AM

3 & 4 makes 7 doesn`t it ?

Flag Reply +1 rate up
Jess January 15 2014 at 12:26 PM

Scary situation....maybe should cancel...just to unsafe. I know a few of the athletes and it really is frightening to think they aren't safe.

Flag Reply +5 rate up
1 reply
itakeitlikeaman Jess January 15 2014 at 12:30 PM

We could all hide under a rock or our survival shelters

Flag Reply +6 rate up
1 reply
Jess itakeitlikeaman January 15 2014 at 12:42 PM

Sure we could hide under a rock but the reality is that it is unsafe....

Flag +2 rate up
Bandi January 15 2014 at 12:33 PM

I won't let my granddaughter go

Flag Reply +3 rate up
tucker January 15 2014 at 12:47 PM

Putin!! Everyone wants my Dunkaccino!

Flag Reply +2 rate up
c0lt4d5 January 15 2014 at 9:41 AM

Yes, all muslims are peaceful and we should not report any muslims for executing christians, (like they just did in Egypt this august), setting off bombs, killing people, or anything else, because they are peaceful... It may be extremest, but this does not negate the fact that it is a muslim terrorist organization. (and FYI they do believe in a different God then Christians/ Jews just read both books like I have)

Flag Reply +4 rate up
Hi Barbara January 15 2014 at 12:52 PM

I can only say, WHY ARE THEY HAVING IT THERE??? There is such a big threat to all of the countries that will be there, including, the USA. I wouldn't go. Sorry

Flag Reply +5 rate up
Gene Ernster January 15 2014 at 1:00 PM

Trying to present the Olympics in a militant Muslim part of the world is insane. Attending countries should elect to stay away. But that would probably a "victory" for the militants.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
Paul Eichmann January 15 2014 at 1:02 PM

I think there is a HIGH probability something very terrible is going to happen in Sochi.

Flag Reply +4 rate up
4 replies
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