counterterrorism operation in Ingushetia
© Telegram / rt_russian
The group of armed militants reportedly planned to conduct "high-profile" attacks.

The Russian security services have carried out a counterterrorism operation in Ingushetia, after the authorities located and blocked a group of gunmen inside a residential building in the city of Karabulak on Saturday evening.

Federal Security Service (FSB) agents surrounded the suspected militant hideout around 7:30pm local time, according to the regional crisis center. All residents of the multi-story apartment building and surrounding buildings were evacuated, as the authorities moved in to secure the area.

The militants engaged in a fierce firefight with the authorities, with sporadic gunfire and grenade explosions heard late into the night, according to media reports and videos from the scene.

There were no casualties or injuries among civilians. The head of the republic, Mahmud-Ali Kalimatov, urged people "not to panic and remain calm," adding that the "situation is under the control of law enforcement agencies."

It remains unclear how many gunmen were blocked in the hideout, but according to the authorities, at least one of the suspects was on a federal wanted list in connection with a deadly terrorist raid on a police outpost last year.

On Sunday morning, the National Antiterrorism Committee (NAK) said that a total of six militants had been neutralized in Karabulak, and that their identities had been established preliminarily. It added that they were supporters of the Islamic State terrorist group (IS, formerly ISIS).

The agency noted that there had been no casualties among civilians or law enforcement during the operation.

Local officials later said that the counterterrorist operation regime in the city had been cancelled.