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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Security agents kill three behind Moscow metro blasts

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Security services killed three people involved in the suicide attacks on the Moscow metro in March after they refused to surrender, Russia's security chief said on Thursday.

Two female suicide bombers, who officials say were natives of Russia's North Caucasus region of Dagestan, blew themselves up at two central underground stations, killing 40 people.

Alexander Bortnikov, head of the FSB domestic security service, said secret agents had tracked down three gang members, including one who escorted the suicide bombers to Moscow and another one who led the women to the scene.

"To our great regret, we did not manage to seize them alive," Russian channels showed Bortnikov reporting to President Dmitry Medvedev. "They put on stiff armed resistance and were destroyed."

Bortnikov said investigators had established the identity of all members of the gang, including the masterminds.

A stern-looking Medvedev replied: "Identify those involved in committing this heinous crime. Destroy the ones trying to resist. Show no mercy!"

The suicide bombings in Moscow and in Dagestan two days later, which killed more than 50 people and wounded at least 100 others, followed a surge of violence over the past year in the patchwork of North Caucasus republics.

Russia has fought two wars in the region against Chechen separatists since the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union.

(Reporting by Dmitry Solovyov; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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