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Gun Battles Erupt in Southern Russia City


Police and security forces are battling gunmen in Nalchik, in southern Russia. The fighting is reported to be near government buildings and a school. Nalchik is capital of a region near Chechnya, where Russian troops have been fighting separatist rebels for more than a decade.

Shooting erupted after gunmen attacked various government buildings and police stations in Nalchik. Shooting has also been reported at a school.

Security officials say the children have been evacuated from the school, which is near a police station that was one of the targets of the early morning attack.

A spokesman for the regional security ministry says the gunmen launched simultaneous attacks against various buildings, as well as at the airport.

The center of Nalchik has been sealed off by police, who are using loudspeakers calling on residents to leave the area.

Nalchik is the capital of Kabardino-Balkariya, a region near the breakaway republic, Chechnya, where Russian troops have been battling separatist fighters for more than a decade.

Many regions near Chechnya have seen a rise in Islamic militancy, in recent years, with violent shootouts and bombings occurring frequently.

Much of the violence is linked to the conflict in Chechnya.

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