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Officials Say Christmas Attacks Prevented In North Caucasus

Security forces in Russia's North Caucasus republic of Kabardino-Balkaria say they have prevented militants from carrying out attacks on churches during Orthodox Christmas services.

Three militants opened fire on security forces late on January 6 after their minibus was stopped outside the village of Dugulubgei.

Security forces returned fire, killing all three militants and detonating some explosives the militants were carrying.

There were no casualties among security force members.

Security forces recovered weapons and three homemade bombs that were "ready for use," according to the republic's Interior Ministry.

A National Antiterrorism Committee spokesman said the militants planned to plant the explosives at churches in Kabardino-Balkaria and Stavropol Krai and detonate them when Christmas services started.

Based on reporting by Interfax and ITAR-TASS