Massive gun battles rage across Nalchik, capital of the Caucasian Muslim Kabardino-Balkaria province near Chechnya, after Islamic “religious extremists” –al Qaeda-Chechens – staged simultaneous raids on public institutions

DEBKAfile Intelligence

October 13, 2005

Civilian deaths are reported and also gunmen.

Combat helicopters brought in to support federal Russian troops who are fighting off attacks on police headquarters, Russian army bases, a gun store and the regional airport. All schools are being evacuated. Police HQ is on fire and gunfire and explosions ring through the city. The fighting is everywhere. Russian defense and interior ministry reinforcements are in position around the embattled city.

Nalchik, a town of a million inhabitants, was the jumping off base for the raiders who besieged the Beslan school a year ago, leaving 332 dead, most children.