Russian officials say four civilians were killed in the crossfire as police and militants in the North Caucasus republic of Ingushetia engaged in two days of fighting.

The clash, in the forested mountains near the border with Chechnya, was one of the bloodiest and most prolonged in Ingushetia in recent months.

Ingushetia's presidential press service says four civilians died and two others were injured.

Svetlana Gorbakova of the region's Investigative Committee said 14 bodies of suspected insurgents had been found after the fighting, but presidential spokesman Kaloi Akhilgov put the toll at 18. It isn't clear if the civilians' deaths accounts for the discrepancy.

Ingushetia has suffered persistent clashes between militants and authorities.