Russian soldiers killed in ′Islamic State′-claimed attack in Chechnya | News | DW | 25.03.2017
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Terrorism

Russian soldiers killed in 'Islamic State'-claimed attack in Chechnya

The militant group has claimed responsibility for a deadly attack on a military facility in the restive region. A National Guard spokesman said the agency was at the forefront of fighting "international terrorism."

At least six Russian soldiers were killed on Friday when gunmen launched an attack on a military facility in Chechnya, the National Guard said in a statement.

"Six of the attackers were destroyed," the National Guard said. "During the armed combat, six military were killed and there are wounded."

The "armed bandits" stormed the base under heavy fog but failed to enter the facility, said the National Guard, a national security agency created by Russian President Vladimir Putin last year for counterterrorism and border security operations.

The so-called "Islamic State" (IS) claimed responsibility for the attack, saying "six soldiers of the caliphate" were killed in the attack, according to the "Amaq" news agency, which is known for its links to the militant group.

The militants attacked "a military base of the Russian National Guard close to Naurskaya village in northwestern Grozny in Chechnya," said a statement from the militant group. "They clashed with those at the base with light weapons for several hours."

A National Guard spokesman said the attack showed that the security agency is "on the forefront of struggle with international terrorism," according to state-owned TASS news agency.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Moscow has fought two separatist wars in the predominantly Muslim region. However, under the rule of strongman leader Ramzan Kadyrov, such violence has remained relatively uncommon.

Russia targeted

Since Moscow entered the Syrian conflict in September 2015, "IS" has vowed to launch attacks on Russian targets.

In October 2015, an affiliate of the militant group claimed responsibility for downing a passenger plane over the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt, killing all 224 people on board. It has also plotted attacks on Russian targets at home and abroad.

Russia announced it would provide air support for Syrian government forces fighting terrorist groups in the country. However, the maneuver was largely seen as a means to bolster Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's grip on power amid a protracted, multi-faceted conflict.

"IS" rose to notoriety in 2014, when it occupied large swathes of land across Syria and Iraq, culminating in the seizure of the latter's third-largest city, Mosul.

An international coalition led by the US has vowed to defeat the group. However, Moscow is not included as a member of the anti-"IS" alliance.

ls/jr (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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