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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kaspiisk Bomber Dies in Shootout

MAKHACHKALA -- Authorities on Tuesday said one of the insurgents killed in a daylong gun and tank battle in Dagestan was a top militant suspected of masterminding one of the country's deadliest terrorist attacks.

Rappani Khalilov and another militant were killed in Monday's 12-hour battle, which broke out in a Dagestani village after police forces surrounded a house, said Mark Tolchinsky, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry's Dagestani branch.

Authorities say Khalilov was behind a 2002 bomb attack on a military parade in the town of Kaspiisk that killed 42 people. His fighters also have been blamed for a wide range of attacks in Dagestan, which borders Chechnya, where federal forces and separatists have fought two wars since 1994.

Khalilov was also believed to be one of the main figures in the 1999 incursion by Chechen rebels into Dagestan aimed at establishing an Islamic state in the region.

The Kavkaz Center rebel web site said Khalilov last year was named "emir of the Dagestani Front," but did not confirm government claims of his death.