Law enforcement agencies in the Russian Republic of Tatarstan conducted a special operation to eliminate militants suspected of earlier attacks on local religious leaders. An FSB operative died during the fight, and another was wounded.
The operation, which began earlier in the day, turned deadly when militants opened fire on security officials. Two operatives were wounded, with one later succumbing to his injuries in a later hospital.
One of the militants eliminated during the fight was later discovered to be wearing a so-called suicide belt, which is an explosive device worn on the body. Bomb techs are working at the scene to diffuse it.
Officials also discovered a number of guns, ammunition and explosive materials in the apartment where the militants were hiding.
Authorities enacted the CTO counter-terrorism protocol, restricting movement in and around Kazan. Local residents were evacuated and offered accomodation at nearby hotels. Authorities are promising to release the scene and allow people to return to their homes within 24 hours.
Eyewitnesses reported hearing gunfire and explosions in the area where the militants wereholed up. MI-8 helicopters were also seen in the sky over the scene.
According to sources within the law enforcement agencies involved in the operation, the militants were planning to detonate explosives during the city's celebrations of Kurban-Bairam, an important Muslim holiday.
The building where the militants were hiding is located right next to a public school. Children who were attending classes there have been moved to rooms in the school's basement, for their safety.
According to the Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin, the militants that were killed were wanted for questioning. They were suspected of being involved in the attack on the republic's religious leaders in July.