Russian Police have killed two rebels in an operation against a group of gunmen in southern republic of Dagestan, officials say.
A special operation against insurgents has been underway on Tuesday, in the region's Derbent district, an area named after Dagestan's second city, about 300 km south of the capital, Makhachkala, on the Caspian Sea coast.
'Rebels opened gunfire in the morning. The exchange of fire has now ended,' Russian news agency Interfax quoted a local law enforcement source as saying.
The killings marked the first violence of the year in the troubled Dagestan Republic.
Shootouts between soldiers and rebels occur more often in Makhachkala and near the border with Chechnya to the west.
Two wars in Chechnya since 1994 have scarred the entire north Caucasus region and violence has spilt over its neighbors Dagestan and Ingushetia.