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Prosecutors in Kazakhstan say five militants and two members of an elite police force have been killed in operations in southern Kazakhstan, amid concerns about rising Islamist unrest.

Nuradaulet Suindikov, a spokesman for the prosecutor-general, said militants hid in a house in the village of Boraldai just outside the former capital of Almaty.

Suindikov said the clash broke out after the militants were surrounded by security forces late on December 3.

He said the militants also were thought to be responsible for the killing of two police officers on November 8 and had been planning new "violent acts" in Almaty.

Suindikov said the leader of the militant group, Khasen Agzhan, was among those killed.

The clash comes three weeks after seven people were killed in the southern Kazakh city of Taraz when a suspected Islamist went on a shooting rampage and then blew himself up.

compiled from agency reports

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