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Russian Forces Storm Apartment, Kill 7 Islamic Extremists

Security forces have stormed an apartment building in southern Russia, ending a two-day standoff and killing seven suspected Islamic extremists.

Thursday's assault in the capital of Russia's republic of Kabardino-Balkaria led to a gun battle lasting several hours. Smoke billowed from the upper floors, which were gutted by fire. At least two police officers were reported wounded.

Russian authorities had surrounded the building Tuesday and opened negotiations with the suspects seeking their surrender

Officials say the extremists belonged to the radical Islamic Yarmuk group, which they link to Chechen separatist fighters.

The group was also blamed for an attack on a local drug enforcement office last month. Weapons were stolen and four agency employees were killed in that attack.

Kabardino-Balkaria is near the war-torn republic of Chechnya. Violence from years of conflict in that breakaway region has spilled into neighboring areas.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and AP.