Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 6 Issue: 40

Dagestani Interior Minster Adilgerei Magomedtagirov told reporters in Makhachkala on October 25 that three rebels—Gadzhimagomed Ismailov, Murad Lazkhiyalov and Makhach Rasulov—had been killed in a special operation conducted by security forces in the Dagestani capital, the Regnum news agency reported. On October 24, Dagestani law enforcement personnel arrived at an apartment building in Makhachkala after receiving intelligence that rebel fighters were holed up there. When the rebels refused to surrender and opened fire on the security forces, all of the five-story apartment building’s residents were evacuated, the building was surrounded and additional personnel from Interior Ministry special units were brought in, along with armor. The apartment building in which the rebels were holed was fired on with grenade launchers and heavy machineguns, and the rebels returned fire. Two OMON troops were lightly wounded in the battle, which lasted two hours. After the shooting subsided, security forces entered the apartment and found the bodies of two of the gunmen. The body of a third gunman was found later and law enforcement sources said they had difficulty identifying the body because it had been badly burned.

According to RIA Novosti, the head of the Dagestani Interior Ministry’s press service, Abdulmanap Musaev, identified Ismailov and Lazkhiyalov as members of the group headed by Rasul Makasharipov, the “emir” of the Sharia Jamaat who was killed in April. Regnum reported that the third militant, Makhach Rasulov, spoke fluent French and Arabic, translated articles from Arabic, published a religious journal and wrote articles for local newspapers. Interior Minster Magomedtagirov said the dead militants are suspected to have been involved in assassination attempts on police officers, the murders of Dagestani National Policy, Information and Foreign Affairs Minister Zagir Arukhov, and Center for Social Research and Political Technologies Magomedzagid Varisov, among others.

The owner of the apartment where the militants were holed up, Raisat Ismailova, left the apartment building with a white flag after the shootout began. Magomedtagirov said that the family that hosted the militants would be treated as accomplices.