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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Special Forces Officer Killed in Dagestan

MAKHACHKALA — Masked men shot dead a special forces commander in Dagestan on Thursday, officials said, part of a wave of attacks that have undermined Moscow's grip of the mainly Muslim North Caucasus.

Lieutenant Colonel Shapi Aligadzhiyev died en route to hospital after three men shot him in the chest and face outside his apartment building in Dagestan's main city of Makhachkala, a police official told Reuters.

One of the attackers was killed when a policeman returned fire, but the other two escaped, the Prosecutor General's investigative unit said in a statement.

Mounting turbulence in North Caucasus region, which also includes Chechnya and Ingushetia, has become a major headache for the Kremlin in recent months, causing fears that the violence could spill over into other parts of Russia.

Dagestan has suffered a series of attacks on policemen in recent days that authorities have blamed on Islamist insurgents.

A 10-kilogram explosive device was discovered near a gas pipeline in Dagestan on Thursday and defused, the Federal Security Service said.