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Chechnya head Ramzan Kadyrov claimed that Caucasus Emirate leader Doku Umarov is dead, and said intercepted communications between militant Islamist leaders in Kabardino-Balkaria and Dagestan mentioned the election of a new "emir." Authorities placed Aleksandr Sokolov, a convicted criminal, in pretrial detention; he has admitted to appearing in a Koran-burning video.

During a raid in Dagestan's Khasavyurt, four suspected Islamist militants and three security force members were killed in a shootout; five security force members were wounded in the operation. Investigators said one of the dead militants was Marat Idrisov, who is thought to have planned the car bombing in Pyatigorsk that killed three people in late December.

Fighting Among Rebels Boosts Syrian Regime

Foreign Minister Lavrov said there is "no clear front" between the Syrian opposition and the terrorists, and claimed that terrorists in Syria, including the Islamic Front, the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant, and the Al Nusrah Front, continue to grow in strength. Security forces killed two men in a shootout in Dagestan's Kizilyurt district yesterday. A prominent businessman was killed by gunmen in Makhachkala, the capital of Dagestan, on Oct. 11. Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov offered a $1,000 cash reward to anyone who names their child born on Jan. 13 after the Prophet Mohammed or members of his family.

Security forces arrested five suspected members of an international terrorist group in Nalchik, the capital of Kabardino-Balkariya in the North Caucasus. Ammunition, grenades, and a homemade bomb packed with shrapnel were seized during the raid in Nalchik, which lies about 185 miles west of Sochi, the site of next month's Olympics.

How Syria's chemical weapons are being destroyed

Police launched an investigation after six corpses were found with gunshot wounds in or near four cars outside the North Caucasus gateway city of Stavropol; at least two of the cars were booby-trapped. Three suspects have been named, two of whom are Islamist militants. A Russian woman wearing a suicide belt was reportedly arrested on a Stavropol bus. Authorities are investigating a video that surfaced on the Internet a few days ago showing Russian men burning the Koran and taunting an injured young man on a Moscow subway. The Chechnya prosecutor's office charged Shakhid Temirbulatov, a Chechen man, in absentia with fighting for Islamist insurgents in Syria.

In a massive security crackdown ahead of the Olympics in Sochi, Russia has deployed 50,000 police, intelligence officers, and soldiers, along with submarines and drones to monitor the region from the sea and the air, and S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems. Cell phone and email traffic will also be monitored. The Interior Ministry believes that some 600 militants are organized in about 40 gangs in the North Caucasus. In September, Russian intelligence said up to 400 Caucasus militants were fighting for Islamist groups in Syria.

Securing Sochi: Nostalgic for Stalin

Authorities have detained over 700 people in Volgograd following two suicide bombings in the city at the end of December. Officials have said that the two bombers were men from the North Caucasus; other reports alleged that one was an ethnic Russian who had converted to Islam. No group has claimed the attack.

Year 2013 proves Russia, US able to work together: Kremlin

President Putin said Russia would continue its fight against terrorists "until their complete annihilation." After two recent suicide bombings in Volgograd, some 5,200 police officers have begun conducting an antiterrorism operation in the city, and have detained 87 people after examining 1,500 buildings and searching over 1,000 people. In Dagestan, a homemade bomb killed a prosecutor's aide, and a bomb attack on a police patrol yesterday killed two people and injured five more, four of whom were policemen.

Russia terror analysis: Volgograd and an Olympics under threat

Muslims In Daghestan, Azerbaijan Call For Boycott Of New Year Celebrations

Bomb Attacks in Russia Echo Threats by Chechen Insurgent

In Wake Of Repeated Bombings, A Question: Why Volgograd?

A suicide bomber detonated on a crowded trolley in Volgograd, killing at least 14 people, the second such attack in two days in the city. Yesterday a Caucasus Emirate-linked "Black Widow" suicide bomber from Dagestan detonated inside the Volgograd central train station, killing at least 17 people. Islam Atiev, a Caucasus Emirate member, was killed in a clash with security forces in Dagestan on Dec. 28. Since then, security forces killed two suspected militants in Dagestan, two more in Stavropol Krai, and three more in Kabardino-Balkaria. Security is being heightened across the country in advance of the Olympics in Sochi.

Suicide bomber strikes again in southern Russia

A trolley was demolished in a blast that is thought to have been carried out by a male suicide bomber. The attack is the second suicide bombing in Volgograd in two days.

Suicide bomber strikes at Russian train station

The bombing, which was likely executed by the Islamic Caucasus Emirate, took place in a region where Russia will host the 2014 Winter Olympics, and is the second suicide attack in Volgograd since October.

At least three people were killed when a car exploded near a police station in Pyatigorsk in the Stavropol region, which borders the North Caucasus republics. A video showing Caucasus Emirate leader Doku Umarov was uploaded to YouTube on Dec. 19, a day after Ramzan Kadyrov, the head of the Chechen Republic, declared that Umarov was dead. Foreign Minister Lavrov warned against the West's 'flirtation' with the Islamic Front in Syria, saying the group could be close to al Qaeda forces.