Page last updated at 11:21 GMT, Monday, 31 August 2009 12:21 UK

Russia 'kills al-Qaeda operative'


Russian forces have killed an al-Qaeda militant in the increasingly volatile North Caucasus region of Dagestan, officials say.

The Algerian national, known as "Doctor Mohammed", was killed when police stormed a house near Chechnya on Sunday night, an unidentified official said.

Correspondents say a violent Islamist insurgency is growing in the region.

The official announced the deaths in a televised address, dressed in combat gear with his back to the camera.

"A representative of an international terrorist organisation in the North Caucasus tasked to oversee terrorist acts in Dagestan was neutralised during a combat operation," he told Russia's Vesti-24 news channel.

A second militant was also killed as police raided the house in Khasavyurt, near the border with Chechnya, he added.

Violence has flared in the North Caucasus in recent months, with dozens of militants and members of the security forces being killed in Dagestan, neighbouring Chechnya and Ingushetia.

Russia says the insurgency is being funded by foreign-based extremist Islamist organisations.

Russian forces have fought two wars against Islamist separatists in the mainly Muslim republic of Chechnya since 1994. The conflicts claimed more than 100,000 lives and left much of Chechnya in ruins.

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