Authorities in Russia's Chechnya region say they have determined that the alleged leader of a group of suspected militants involved in gunbattles with police over the weekend had ties to the extremist group Islamic State (IS).
Law-enforcement officials said on December 19 that Said-Ibragim Ismailov, who was among seven suspected militants killed in the violence, had been in contact with what they called his commander in Syria via the Internet.
They said the six other gunmen who were killed had also been identified, and that all have been wanted on suspicion of involvement in attacks on police in the North Caucasus region.
Chechen officials said that the seven suspected militants were killed, and four others detained in two separate shootouts in Grozny's outskirts over the weekend.
The Kremlin-backed head of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, had indicated on December 18 that a total of 11 gunmen were killed.
At least one police officer was killed and one wounded, media reports cited Chechen law-enforcement officials as saying.
The gunbattles were some of the deadliest violence in or around Grozny since at least 14 police were killed when militants carried out multiple attacks in the city on December 3-4, 2014.
Based on reporting by kavkaz-uzel.eu and Interfax