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Reports: Nighttime gun battle breaks out in Russia's restive republic of Chechnya

  • A publishing house building is seen in flames in the center of Grozny, Russia, early Thursday, Dec. 4, 2014. A gun battle broke out after midnight Thursday in the capital of Russia’s North Caucasus republic of Chechnya, puncturing the patina of stability ensured by years of heavy-handed rule by a Kremlin-appointed leader. Security officials and the leader of Chechnya said gunmen traveling in several cars killed at least three traffic police officers at a checkpoint late at night in the capital of the republic, Grozny. The Moscow-based National Anti-Terrorist Committee said in a statement that after the attack on the traffic police, gunmen occupied a publishing house in the center of Grozny. It said security services, police and emergency services personnel surrounded the building. (AP Photo/Musa Sadulayev)

    A publishing house building is seen in flames in the center of Grozny, Russia, early Thursday, Dec. 4, 2014. A gun battle broke out after midnight Thursday in the capital of Russia‚Äôs North Caucasus republic of Chechnya, puncturing the patina of stability ensured by years of heavy-handed rule by a Kremlin-appointed leader. Security officials and the leader of Chechnya said gunmen traveling in several cars killed at least three traffic police officers at a checkpoint late at night in the capital of the republic, Grozny. The Moscow-based National Anti-Terrorist Committee said in a statement that after the attack on the traffic police, gunmen occupied a publishing house in the center of Grozny. It said security services, police and emergency services personnel surrounded the building. (AP Photo/Musa Sadulayev)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - Chechen regional leader Ramzan Kadyrov talks with press in the Chechen regional capital, Grozny, Russia, in this Oct. 5, 2014 file photo.  gun battle broke out after midnight Thursday  Dec. 4, 2014 in the capital of Russia's North Caucasus republic of Chechnya, puncturing the patina of stability ensured by years of heavy-handed rule by Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov.  (AP Photo/Musa Sadulayev, File)

    FILE - Chechen regional leader Ramzan Kadyrov talks with press in the Chechen regional capital, Grozny, Russia, in this Oct. 5, 2014 file photo. gun battle broke out after midnight Thursday Dec. 4, 2014 in the capital of Russia's North Caucasus republic of Chechnya, puncturing the patina of stability ensured by years of heavy-handed rule by Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov. (AP Photo/Musa Sadulayev, File)  (The Associated Press)

Russian media are reporting a shootout in the capital of the restive North Caucasus republic of Chechnya.

State news agency RIA-Novosti cited law enforcement sources as saying three police officers were killed in the city of Grozny when they attempted to stop a car carrying a group of gunmen.

The agency said the gunmen later barricaded themselves inside a publishing house.

Life News, a news outlet believed to have links to Russian security services, cited law enforcement officials as saying about 15 people seized three cars late Wednesday in the village of Shalazhi and drove them to Grozny. RIA-Novosti reported only on a gang of three people.

Unrest is common in Russia's North Caucasus, although forceful security measures have spared Grozny of significant violence for several years.