5 Russian police killed in Chechnya

MOSCOW: Five Russian police officers were killed in a rebel ambush in Chechnya in the latest attacks in Russia's violence-torn Caucasus region, Russian news agencies reported on Monday.

The police officers were attacked late Sunday while patrolling a road about 21 kilometres (13 miles) from the village of Itum-Kale, a police source was quoted by Interfax and RIA Novosti as saying.

"The three-car police column sustained machine gun and grenade fire," the source said.

Another six officers were wounded in the attack, he added.

Deadly clashes between government forces and Islamist rebels are common in Chechnya, a predominantly Muslim region in the North Caucasus mountains.

The region was the site of two wars between separatists and Russia's central government after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, and the insurgency has spilled over into neighbouring regions.

Three employees of the Russian emergencies ministry were shot dead Sunday in nearby Ingushetia, while two police officers were killed in Dagestan when their patrol post came under fire Saturday, news agencies reported.