Police officers killed eight suspected Islamist militants in the volatile North Causcasus region, Russia's anti-terrorism agency said Thursday.
Four were shot dead in a rural region of Dagestan after opening fire on security officers with automatic weapons, the National Anti-Terrorism Committee said.
Three others were killed in separate firefights in two other regions of Dagestan. An eighth suspected rebel was killed in the nearby North Caucasus region of Kabardino-Balkaria.
Deadly violence in the North Caucasus, which has its roots in two separatist wars in Russia's Chechnya and is a near daily occurrence, is a particular focus for Moscow since it is not far from Sochi, where Russia plans to hold the 2014 Winter Olympics.