Middle East

Russia says six of its soldiers killed in Chechnya base attack

Russia said on Friday that six of its soldiers had been killed after successfully repelling an assault on a military facility in Chechnya, an attack the "Islamic State" (IS) militant group said it had carried out.

The National Guard of Russia said in a statement that a group of what it called "armed bandits" had launched an attack under the cover of fog in the early hours of Friday morning on an unnamed military facility.

It said a gun battle had ensued and that a number of Russian troops had been wounded in addition to the six who had been killed. It said six of the attackers had also been killed.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement circulated online. It said six of its militants had targeted a military base at Naurskaya, north-west of Grozny, the Chechen capital, and that all six had been killed in a battle which it said lasted several hours.

Moscow has fought two wars with separatists in the mainly Muslim internal republic since the 1991 Soviet collapse, but such shoot-outs have become relatively rare in Chechnya.

The wider North Caucasus region remains volatile however with unemployment and corruption pushing some young men to embrace radical Islam.

Reporting by Andrew Osborn; Editing by Katya Golubkova and Polina Devitt; Reuters

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