several members of the Islamic State shot dead

several members of the Islamic State shot dead
several members of the Islamic State shot dead

Russia still grappling with terrorism. Several members of the jihadist organization Islamic State (IS) were “liquidated” on Sunday according to the authorities after taking two prison officers hostage in a prison in southern Russia, a country repeatedly targeted by attacks.

This hostage taking came nearly three months after the attack claimed by ISIS against the Crocus City Hall, a concert hall near Moscow, where armed men killed at least 144 people, the worst attack in nearly 20 years old.

“During a special operation (…) the criminals were liquidated and the employees who were taken hostage were released and were not injured,” the prison services said in a statement.

The prison administration had indicated a few hours earlier that defendants were holding two guards in detention center number 1 in the Rostov region, located at the gateway to the Russian Caucasus.

According to a source within the police interviewed by the state agency TASS, members of ISIS who were to appear in court on charges of “terrorism” were among the hostage-takers.

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They were holed up in the courtyard of the detention center, armed with a pocketknife, a baton and an axe, according to the same source.

The attackers, who numbered six according to the Interfax agency, had asked to be provided with a car and to be allowed to leave the detention center in exchange for the release of the hostages.

Multiple attacks

Russia has been repeatedly targeted by attacks claimed by the jihadist organization, although ISIS’s influence remains limited in the country.

After the Crocus City Hall attack, more than 20 people were arrested, including the four suspected attackers, all from Tajikistan, a former Soviet republic in Central Asia neighboring Afghanistan.

According to Russian media, the attackers at the Rostov detention center could be men arrested in 2022 and accused of wanting to carry out an attack against the Supreme Court of Karachay-Cherkessia, a Russian republic in the Caucasus with a Muslim majority.

Russia faced an Islamist rebellion in the early 2000s in the Caucasus, a movement born from the first conflict against separatist Chechnya in 1994-96. It was defeated by Russian federal forces and in recent years, armed incidents have become rare there.

Nearly 4,500 Russians, particularly from the Caucasus, fought alongside IS in Iraq and Syria, according to official figures.

In April, two armed fighters who were members of “an international terrorist organization” were shot dead by Russian forces near Nalchik, in the Caucasus.

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