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Death toll in Daghestan operation rises to five soldiers


MAKHACHKALA, March 20 (RIA Novosti) - The number of service personnel killed in a special operation in Russia's North Caucasus Republic of Daghestan has risen to five, a spokesman for Daghestan's interior ministry said on Friday. Earlier in the day, the death toll had stood at three with three police officers wounded.

"As a result of a two-day special operation, five service personnel died, three police officers were also wounded in the clashes," the spokesman said. "For today, the special operation was suspended at nightfall, it will resume early on Saturday."

The ministry also said from five to seven militants had been killed during the operation, although the total figure was unknown due to intense gunfire in the woodland area, where the armed fighters were holed up.

The special operation in Kakashur started after a clash on Wednesday between law enforcement officers and militants. Police then encircled a group of 10 to 15 armed fighters. The militants are thought to be members of a group aligned to Magomedali Vagabov, who is on a federal and international wanted list for attacks on police officers and terrorist-related crimes. Sporadic terrorist attacks and militant clashes are common in Daghestan, and in neighboring Chechnya, although the Kremlin has officially ended its military campaign to fight separatists and terrorists there.

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