Police have surrounded a group of suspected terrorists in a flat in the southern Russian republic of Kabardino-Balkaria and are preparing an attack.
A special operation in the region in late April led to the death of 10 insurgents thought to be behind a string of terrorist attacks and murders in the region, including an attack on Moscow tourists in a ski resort in February.
A police spokesman said the suspected killer of the mufti of Kabardino-Balkaria is believed to be in the flat.
Mufti Anas Pshikhachev, an influential figure in the volatile North Caucasus region, was dragged out of his home and shot by insurgents in December.
Until recently Kabardino-Balkaria was considered one of the calmer republics of the mainly Muslim North Caucasus, where terrorist attacks and shootouts with police are common.
Russian federal troops fought two brutal wars against Islamist separatists in neighboring Chechnya in the 1990s and early 2000s.
NALCHIK (Kabardino-Balkaria), May 10 (RIA Novosti)