Russian law enforcement forces have killed five militants linked with the Daesh terrorist group and arrested three others during separate counterterrorism operations in the North Caucasus republic of Ingushetia.
"As a result of a special operation in the town of Malgobek and an anti-terrorist operation in the town of Nazran, five militants have been killed and three others detained following fierce clashes," Russia's National Anti-Terrorism Committee said in a statement released on Thursday.
Russia has been fighting militants since the mid-1990s in its North Caucasus region, where the republics of Chechnya, Dagestan, and Ingushetia have been the scene of sporadic attacks and militant clashes.
Violence first broke out in Chechnya in 1994, when 250,000 people were forced to flee to neighboring territories because of a war between Chechen separatists and the Russian army.
After a short-lived period of relative peace from 1996 to 1999, war resumed following attacks blamed on Chechen militant groups.
In April 2015, Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) said a North Caucasus militant group, known as the “Imarat Kavkaz,” had allied itself with the Daesh Takfiri terrorist outfit.
Earlier this year, the National Anti-Terrorism Committee announced that Daesh terror cells led by Chechen recruiter Akhmed Chetayev were planning terrorist attacks in Russia and Europe, noting that former Iraqi army officers from the deposed Ba'ath regime are taking part in training terrorists to attack Russia.
“Russian special services have intelligence that certain Daesh groups are preparing terrorist attacks in Russia and European nations,” Andrey Przhezdomsky, the committee's spokesman warned.
“In particular, a battalion formed mainly from recruits from North Caucasus headed by Akhmed Chetayev, nicknamed One-Handed,” Przhezdomsky noted.
He went on to say Russian border guards and special services are doing their best to stem the flow of terrorists to and from Syria through Turkey.
Specialized prisons for terrorists
Meanwhile, various security organs in Russia, among them the country’s Security Council, are mulling the creation of specialized prisons for terrorists.
“The topic of specialized prisons [for terrorists] is being discussed in different organs, including in the Security Council,” Denis Kornikov, the representative of the Russian Interior Ministry's Main Directorate for Combating Extremism, said at a session of the Federation Council, the country’s upper house of parliament.