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17 January 2005 -- A local official in Daghestan said today the bodies of four gunmen killed in an hours-long firefight with Russian security forces in the Caucasus republic have been recovered from the ruins of a house destroyed in the assault.

Abdulmanap Mussaev, spokesman for Daghestan's Interior Ministry, said the bodies were too badly damaged to be identified immediately and laboratory tests would be needed to do so.

According to Mussaev, authorities said during the weekend that there were five gunmen and a search for the remaining body continued.

The gunmen exchanged fire for 15 hours over the weekend with Russian security forces before the house they were holed up in outside the Daghestan capital Makhachkala was destroyed after being fired upon by a tank and other heavy artillery. A police officer was also killed in the shoot-out.

(AFP/ITAR-TASS)
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