Russian security officials say two men killed by police in Tatarstan were suspects in a murder plot targeting a top Muslim cleric.
The two men killed Wednesday in Kazan are said to have been planning a major terrorist attack during Eid al-Adha, the Muslim holiday beginning Thursday at sundown. One member of the federal security forces also died during the gun battle at an apartment building in the provincial capital.
Police and firemen rescued civilians, including several infants, caught up in the security operation in Kazan. The city of more than one million people lies on the Volga River, more than 700 kilometers east of Moscow.
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Russian intelligence officials say the slain suspects were involved in attacks three months ago that wounded the chief mufti [religious scholar] of Tatarstan, Ildus Faizov, and killed his deputy, Valiulla Yakupov.
Authorities identified the dead men as Robert Valeyev and Ruslan Kashapov.
Some information for this report was provided by AP.