20 February 2005 -- Russian Special Forces launched an assault today on an apartment building in southern Russia, reportedly killing several suspected Islamic militants who had barricaded themselves inside.
An official with the Interior Ministry in Nalchik, the capital of the Russian Federation's Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria, said a day-old standoff with Islamic militants ended when the Russian troops stormed the building.
Video footage recorded by an NTV news crew showed Russian armored personnel carriers blocking off streets around the apartment building in Nalchik. Russian Special Forces used grenade launchers to launch gas canisters into the apartment and then attacked with heavy automatic weapons
Reports said at least three bodies were found in a first-floor apartment. It is unclear how many suspected rebels had been in the building.
The public prosecutor of Kabardino-Balkaria said the people inside were "members of illegal gangs who had taken part in various terrorist acts and military operations in Chechnya."