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Violence in Russia's North Caucasus kills four

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Police killed two suspected Islamic militants on Thursday after one of them threw a grenade at a group of officers and two others died in a separate shootout in Russia's volatile North Caucasus region, Interfax reported.

Both incidents took place in Dagestan province, which has become the epicenter of violence for militants seeking to establish an Islamic state in the North Caucasus, near where Russia plans to hold the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Three police officers were taken to hospital in the city of Khasavyurt after the two men opened fire, dropped a grenade and ran after police approached them during a routine document check, agencies reported. The men then hid at a local school.

"The two suspects were killed while resisting police," Interfax quoted a local investigator, who was not named, as saying.

An administrator at the school died of a heart attack after spotting the suspected militants, RIA reported.

On the wooded outskirts of Gubden, more than 100 km (60 miles) away, a shootout killed one suspected militant and police officer, Interfax reported.

Human rights groups say violence in the predominantly Muslim North Caucasus is fuelled by a combination of religion along with anger at corruption and strong arm tactics by local leaders.

(Reporting By Thomas Grove; Editing by Michael Roddy)

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/130523/violence-russias-north-caucasus-kills-four