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The Supreme Court decided in closed session yesterday to designate the Islamic State and the Al Nusrah Front as terrorist groups and ban them from Russia. The decision follows the defection of several Dagestani factions of the Caucasus Emirate to the Islamic State. Foreign Minister Lavrov warned that recent US sanctions against Russia will negatively affect bilateral cooperation on Iran's nuclear program, the war in Syria, and other international issues.

Sentences were handed down on Dec. 23 against 57 men accused of engaging in the October 2005 attacks on police and government facilities in Nalchik, the capital of Kabardino-Balkaria. Five received life sentences, including former Guantanamo detainee Rasul Kudayev.

Residents of Yandi in Chechnya reported that masked men, presumably government forces, torched several homes on Dec. 8. After the deadly militant attack in Grozny on Dec. 6, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov had vowed to raze the homes of relatives of those responsible for the killings.

At least 16 people have been killed in a clash between suspected Islamist militants and counterterrorism police in Grozny, the capital of Chechnya. Ten policemen are among the dead, and dozens of people have been wounded, in fighting that broke out at a publishing house and a school. A video surfaced claiming that the attack was ordered by Chechen Islamist leader Aslan Byutukayev a.k.a. Emir Khamzat.

A suicide bombing outside a Grozny concert hall, where celebrations marking City Day and the birthday of Chechnya president Ramzan Kadyrov were taking place, killed five policemen and wounded at least eight other people. The bomber, 19-year-old local resident Opti Mudarov, had been stopped at a security checkpoint near the entrance to the hall.

Six Russian citizens belonging to the banned Islamist group Hizb ut Tahrir were arrested in St. Petersburg on June 24. Police killed two suspected Islamist militants in Dagestan; alleged Caucasus Emirate "warlord" Makhach Taimudarov was killed in Makhachkala, and another man was killed in Derbent. Prosecutors are seeking a 13-year sentence for a former Makhachkala mayor accused of plotting both a missile attack against a plane carrying a top Russian Pension Fund official and the murder of an Investigative Committee official. Abu Muhammad, emir of the Caucasus Emirate, has issued a video discussing the Jaish al-Muhajireen wal Ansar (Emigrants Army), which calls itself the Imarat Kavkaz/Caucasus Emirate (CE) in Syria; he says Chechen fighters should align themselves with the Al Nusrah Front, not the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham, and urges ISIS commander Omar al Shishani to return to the Emigrants Army, but also warns against fitna (discord).

Security forces claimed to have killed five militants during a May 24 raid in Sagopshi, Ingushetia, in which a policeman and his wife also died. The five suspects were blamed for the murder of Ingush Security Council secretary Ahmed Kotiev in August 2013.

Russia said it would veto a draft UN resolution that seeks to refer the Syrian conflict to the International Criminal Court. Suspected Islamist gunmen killed three police officers and wounded seven more in a shootout in Dagestan's Gunib district on May 15.

Special operations forces killed four suspected terrorists yesterday in Semender, near Makhachkala. The four men were allegedly planning attacks on May 9 Victory Day celebrations.

Dagestani officials announced the conclusion of a counterterrorism operation in Khasavyurt in which three suspected militants, including a woman, were killed. A gunman shot a police officer in Khasavyurt prior to the raid.

Special operations forces killed Rais Mingaleyev and Beslan Nazipov, two wanted militants linked to an assassination attempt on a mufti in Tatarstan in 2012, during a raid overnight on May 1. Another counterterrorism operation was launched in the Karabudakhkent district of Dagestan on April 29.

Special operations forces killed up to five militants during a raid on two homes in the coastal city of Derbent in Dagestan; two officers were wounded. Authorities said the members of a "southern" terrorist group were planning attacks in Dagestan during May holidays.

A woman who shot at security forces during a counterterrorism raid in Khasavyurt in Dagestan was killed; the operation is said to be ongoing. Said Amirov, the former mayor of the Dagestani capital of Makhachkala, is being tried on murder and terrorism charges. A court in Bashkortostan convicted five members of the banned group Hizb ut-Tahrir, sentencing the organizer, local resident Vadim Khabirov, to two years in jail and imposing fines on the other four.

Masked gunmen assassinated an imam in rural Dagestan. Police arrested 22 protesters at an unauthorized rally in support of the former mayor of Makhachkala in Dagestan, who is accused terrorism and murder. Earlier this week, five Islamic militants, including ringleader Isa Khashagulgov, were sentenced to prison for a 2010 suicide bombing in North Ossetia that killed 20 people and injured over 200.

Suspected Islamist militants killed four Russian soldiers and wounded seven more in a roadside bombing in Chechnya. A Russian jihadist website released videos featuring "Abdullah," a Chechen boxer, and Abu 'Issa al-Andalusi, a Portuguese soccer player, who died fighting in Islamist ranks in Syria. The video claimed that at the time he was killed, Abdullah was fighting alongside "our brother Abu Usama Ubeida al-Ansari."

The Investigative Committee issued an arrest warrant for Oleksandr Muzychko a.k.a. Sashko Bilyi, a Ukrainian nationalist accused of torturing and murdering at least 20 Russian soldiers while he fought alongside Chechen militants in 1994-95. The Chechen fighters were led by al Qaeda-linked commanders Shamil Basayev and Ibn al-Khattab. The Committee also issued arrest warrants for members of a group called the "Holy Brotherhood of the Black Cross," which has threatened governors of Russian regions, including Belgorod, Kursk, Bryansk, and Voronezh, over Russia's involvement in the Ukraine.

The Foreign Ministry expressed concern over reports that Saudi Arabia was planning to provide antiaircraft and antitank weapons to Syrian rebels as they are likely to be used far from Syria. The ministry also said it was worried about the use of Jordan's territory for the transit of such weapons and for training camps for rebel fighters.

Tengiz Guketlov, a Caucasus Emirate leader in Kabardino-Balkaria, issued a statement yesterday claiming that six killings in Stavropol in January were in retaliation for the killing of 35 allegedly innocent local Muslims by security forces. He denied that the six deaths were connected to the Islamist terror group's threat to disrupt the Olympics in Sochi. The Ingush media branch of the Caucasus Emirate issued a statement on Feb. 5 taunting visitors to the Olympics with threatened attacks.

Police claimed to have a killed a possible mastermind of the Volgograd bombings, identified as "Mirzayev," head of the "Kadarskaya gang." He is said to have been killed during a shootout with security forces in Izerbash in Dagestan.

Russian authorities identified Asker Samedov and Suleyman Magomedov, who were members of a militant Islamist group in Dagestan, as the two suicide bombers who detonated in separate attacks in Volgograd last month. Two accomplices, brothers Magomednabi and Tagir Batirov, were arrested yesterday in Dagestan.