Security officers have reportedly shot dead three militants in Russia’s North Caucasus republic of Daghestan.
Local media reported on February 17 that the militants were hiding in a wood and opened fire on security officers searching the area in the early hours of the day.
The Interfax news agency quoted the investigative department of the Investigative Committee for Daghestan as identifying the leader of the three as Daniyal Zargalov, known as the emir of the Northern Sector.
Moscow is struggling to quell a persistent Islamist insurgency in Daghestan more than a decade after it fought two separatist wars in the adjacent republic of Chechnya.
Rights groups say the revolt is driven by a mix of religion, corruption, and grievances about the strong-arm tactics some local leaders have employed against suspected militants and their families.