MOSCOW - Police have killed a senior Islamist militant in a shootout in Russia's North Caucasus ahead of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, the National Anti-terror Committee said on Tuesday.

The shooting of Eldar Magatov, a suspect in numerous attacks on Russian targets, at a house where he had taken refuge in the Dagestan region was part of an intensifying security clampdown as the Games approach.

President Vladimir Putin has staked his political reputation on organizing a successful Olympics and tightened security nationwide after insurgents who hope to create an Islamist state in the North Caucasus threatened to attack the Games.

Magatov led an insurgent group in the Babyurt district of Dagestan, the National Anti-Terror Committee said. Dagestan has become the focal point of the insurgency, which is rooted in two separatist wars in neighboring Chechnya.

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