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Russia investigating IS claims of axe attack on police

Police did not initially believe there was an Islamic State group connection [TASS]

Date of publication: 19 August, 2016

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Russia said its detectives are investigating IS claims its members carried out Wednesday's attack on a police checkpoint near Moscow, which left two officers injured and the assailants dead.

Russia is investigating claims that an axe attack on police near Moscow was carried out by Islamic State group 'militants'.

It comes after two Russian officers were injured when armed men attacked a checkpoint 12 miles east of Moscow with firearms and axes.

The two assailants were shot dead by police during Wednesday's attack.

Initially, it was believed to be a localised attack but then on Thursday a video on the IS-linked website Amaq was released.

It showed two young men identified as the attackers say pledging allegiance to IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and saying they would commit an attack on behalf of the group.

"We are in Moscow on orders of our emir... this is payback for your killing of our brothers every day in Syria," one of the men says in Russian.

SITE Intelligence Group said Amaq identified the two attackers as IS fighters and named them as Uthman Mardalov and Salim Israilov. 

The two Chechen men were known to be active on jihadi websites, a source in Russian security forces told Interfax news agency on Friday.

Another security source told RIA Novosti state news agency that the attackers resembled the men in the video.

Russia has been conducting air raids in Syria since September 2015 to bolster President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

Moscow claims it is hitting "terrorist groups" - such as the Islamic State group and al-Qaeda - although most attacks appear aimed at residential areas under the control of moderate and Islamist groups fighting both the regime and IS.

There have been few reports of IS actions inside Russia since then, but IS claimed responsibility for blowing up a Russian jet flying from Egypt in October in its English-language Dabiq magazine.

It showed images of a coke can filled with explosives it claims downed the passenger plane.

Agencies contributed to this story.

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