MOSCOW — Russian special forces killed two people suspected of plotting terror attacks in a shootout in the country's south on Thursday, the National Antiterror Committee said.

The suspects were blockaded on the outskirts of Nalchik, capital of the Kabardino-Balkaria republic, and opened fire on special forces of the Federal Security Service, the committee said.

The committee did not give details of the actions that the suspects were believed to be planning. But the shootout came amid heightened security concerns after the March 22 attack by gunmen on a Moscow concert hall that killed 145 people.

An affiliate of the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack. Kabardino-Balkaria is in the North Caucasus region where Islamic extremism has brewed for decades.

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