ALMATY - Police killed nine suspected militants in a shootout near Kazakhstan's largest city on Friday during a dawn raid on an armed group linked to a house explosion that killed eight people a month ago.
The prosecutor-general's office, announcing the "special operation" on its website www.prokuror.kz. did not identify those killed, but said the police had met armed resistance when they tried to make arrests in a village 25 km (16 miles) outside Almaty, the financial capital of Central Asia's largest economy.One policeman was wounded and local residents had been evacuated beforehand, it said.
The suspects had been linked to a house fire in the same district on July 11 which killed eight people, it said, an incident which led President Nursultan Nazarbayev to issue a sharp rebuke to his security forces.
Police said the fire was caused by an explosion and later found guns, ammunition and religious literature in an adjacent garage. An investigation classified the incident as "preparation for terrorism".