Nine dead in violence in Russia's North Caucasus.

Violent clashes in Russia's North Caucasus and the city of Astrakhan have left a police officer and eight fighters dead. Violence occurs frequently in the Muslim North Caucasus due to an armed campaign to establish an independent state governed by sharia, or Islamic law.

Travellers to Russia are advised to avoid travel to Chechnya and the North Caucasus because of the serious risk of violence, including frequent terrorist incidents, military activity, kidnapping and unexploded mines.

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