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Russian Forces Kill Top Militant Suspect in North Caucasus

Russia says security forces have killed a top Islamist rebel leader it says planned a 2005 attack that left more than 100 people dead in a southern republic.

Officials say suspect Anzor Astemirov was killed Wednesday during a shootout with police in the city of Nalchik, the capital of Kabardino-Balkaria republic.

Authorities say Astemirov shot at police officers during a routine document check and was killed when police returned fire.

Astemirov was accused of leading militants in a raid on police and government buildings in Nalchik in 2005. About 140 people died, including more than 70 militants.

Scores of heavily armed militants took part in the October 2005 attack on Nalchik's local police station and other targets in the city of 275,000 residents. The raid triggered fierce, day-long firefights between the attackers and local authorities.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.