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Russian Officials: Gun Battles Foil Major Hostage-Taking Plot in Dagestan

Russian media are reporting that security forces in the southern province of Dagestan may have averted a major hostage-taking terror attack.

Officials told reporters that two separate gun battles in Dagestan Saturday had broken up a mass hostage-taking plan by suspected terrorists, one similar to an attack on a Chechen school in Beslan last year that killed 350 people.

Officials said six suspected terrorists and four policemen were killed in Saturday's fighting.

One battle in the provincial capital, Makhachkala, went on for hours after suspects invaded private homes and made a stand against pursuing police. The fighting ended when security forces brought in a tank to raze the buildings.

Officials said the suspects were connected to a Chechen-based militant.

Some information for this report provided by AP and AFP.