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12 suspected militants killed in Chechnya

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ROSTOV-ON-DON, Russia (AP) — Officials in Chechnya say 12 suspected militants were killed in a special operation in this Russian North Caucasus republic that was launched after two policemen were killed and seven injured in an attack on a police station.

The Interior Ministry said Thursday the militants were killed in combat with police forces in the mountains south of the provincial capital Grozny. It identified two of the dead as influential warlords, brothers Muslim and Hussein Gakayev, who were wanted on terrorism charges.

The ministry said the militants had been hiding in the mountains plotting a terrorist attack.

Chechnya was devastated in two separatist wars in the 1990s. Major fighting died out years ago, but sporadic attacks on Russian soldiers and police persist.

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