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Kyrgyz Government Says Four Militants Killed In Osh Raid

Kyrgyz Security Council Secretary Marat Imankulov says four suspected militants have been killed during a security operation in Kyrgyzstan's southern city of Osh.

He said the four were connected to the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU).

"Three terrorists, who fired automatic weapons, were killed," Imankulov told reporters. "One blew himself up with a grenade. As a result, the ceiling of the room where they were hiding collapsed, and now special forces are cleaning up the place. So, three militants were killed, one blew himself up."

Osh police chief Pamir Asanov said two other militants were captured during the operation and added the security operation was continuing.

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Asanov said the fighting created panic in Osh, where tensions linger in the wake of ethnic Kyrgyz and Uzbek clashes in June that left some 400 people dead and caused widespread destruction in Kyrgyzstan's second-largest city.

Imankulov said two policemen were injured in a gun battle during the raid.

A local police spokesman was quoted earlier as saying the operation targeted members of banned Islamist group Hizb-ut Tahrir.

Earlier Arrests

Earlier in the day, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reported that Interior Minister Zarylbek Rysaliev said a series of terrorist acts were thwarted last week. Rysaliev said in Bishkek that nine suspects had been arrested while preparing to carry out terrorist attacks in crowded areas of Bishkek, Osh, and Jalal-Abad.

Imankulov did not say whether there was any connection between those arrests and this latest raid.

Rysaliev said the group of men arrested last week were not Islamist extremists but were pursuing separatist goals.

The clashes between ethnic Kyrgyz and Uzbeks in June also drove hundreds of thousands of people from their homes.

compiled from RFE/RL and Reuters reports