Did Jund al Khilafah battle police in Kazakhstan?

Five “terrorists” and two policemen were killed in a shootout during a raid in a village in southern Kazakstan last night. From Al Jazeera:

Five members of a group accused of killing government forces and two police officers have been killed during a clash in southern Kazakhstan, government prosecutors say.

The police officers were members of the elite Arystan battalion of the Kazakh police, and were killed after government forces confronted members of the group in a battle in the village of Boraldai on Sunday.

“After refusing to give themselves up and providing armed resistance, five members of the terrorist group were killed,” prosecutors said in a statement.

Nurdaulet Suindikov, a spokesman for the country’s attorney-general, told a news briefing that the fighters who had been killed were suspected of killing two police officers on November 8.

He said they had been “eliminated” in a night raid in the village, which is less than 10km north of the city of Almaty, where the attack on November 8 occurred. The house they were hiding in was surrounded and police moved in after residents of the neighborhood had been evacuated, he said. He said that the group had been planning “violent acts” in Almaty.

Suindikov said that several weapons had been found during the raid, including grenades, Kalakshnikov rifles and a pistol, the Kaztag news agency reported.

Kazakh officials have not named the “terrorist group” that was involved in the shootout. It will be interesting if the Jund al Khilafah, the al Qaeda-linked terror group that operates along the Afghan-Pakistan border, will claim those killed as their own. Jund al Khilafah has claimed credit for two attacks in Kazakhstan this fall. For more information on the Jund al Khilafah, see LWJ report, Kazakh jihadi leader seeks restoration of Islamic caliphate.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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