- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Police in the chaotic North Caucasus region of Russia killed a leading Islamist militant during a dramatic shootout, the latest in President Putin’s attempt to stabilize the nation in the lead-up to the Sochi Olympic Games.

Eldar Magatov, who was suspected in several attacks in Russia, was discovered by police at a house in the Dagestan region. Police tried to apprehend him — and the situation turned violent, members of the National Anti-terror Committee said on Tuesday, the New York Post reported. Magatov was killed, after trading fire with police.

The region is known for its massive swell of Islamist influence and has become a thorn in Mr. Putin’s side. Dagestan has become ground zero for the separatist battle that is tearing apart nearby Chechnya.

Islamists put out a video just this week in which two members of a militant group claimed responsibility for the suicide bombings in Volgograd last month that killed at least 34 and wounded dozens more. The men then vowed to conduct similar suicide attacks at the Games in revenge for Muslim blood that’s been shed around the world.

Meanwhile, security forces are furiously searching for the whereabouts of up to three female militants, or “black widows,” who may be plotting attacks on Sochi visitors at the Feb. 7 games.

In this image made from a video posted online by an Islamic militant group asserting responsibility for suicide bombings last month that killed 34 people in Volgograd, Russia, two men, identified as Suleiman and Abdurakhman and who purportedly carried out the twin suicide bombings are seen at an unknown location. The two Russian-speaking men featured in the video are identified as members of Ansar al-Sunna, the name of a militant group operating in Iraq. It was unclear whether they had received funding or training from the group or only adopted its name. (AP Photo)
In this image made from a video posted online by an Islamic ... more >