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Four suspected rebel fighters killed in Dagestan

Four suspected militants were killed after they refused surrender to Russian police in the restive Caucasus region of Dagestan, Russian news agencies reported Wednesday.

world Updated: Jan 20, 2010 12:50 IST

Four suspected militants were killed after they refused surrender to Russian police in the restive Caucasus region of Dagestan, Russian news agencies reported Wednesday.

The shootout occurred at a police checkpoint on a main highway in the North Caucasus republic overnight to Wednesday, a spokesman for the local FSB intelligence services told RIA Novosti.

"People in the car shot at the police and were killed in the return fire," the spokesman said, adding that one of the men had been identified as on Russia's wanted list. Grenades and assault rifles were found in the car, he added.

Concerns have mounted over increased militant attacks throughout the mountainous Caucasus region, where a tenacious Islamist insurgency is pitched against pro-Kremlin authorities and Russian security forces.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Tuesday sought to boost Kremlin control over the mostly Muslim Russian Caucasus by appointing a powerful envoy to oversee a new federal district that groups its seven most volatile republics, including Chechnya.

In Dagestan, a region on the Caspian Sea bordering war-torn Chechnya, the tensions have been particularly acute in recent months. Suicide bombings, attacks on local officials and clashes between police and rebels are frequent.