By Emily Goddard

Members of Russia's special forces have been killed in a shoot-out in Dagestan ©Getty ImagesJanuary 15 - Three members of Russia's Special Forces and four gunmen have been killed in a shoot-out as part of a security clampdown operation ahead of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics and Paralympics.

The incident occurred during a house siege near the city of Khasavyurt in Dagestan, located 900 kilometres from Sochi.

A further five Russian officers were left wounded, while the National Anti-terrorism Committee said a man accused of carrying out a car bomb attack in the city of Pyatigorsk in December, which killed three people, was among the dead gunmen.

Police are also said to have defused two explosive devices at the house.

The special operation came at the same time as the introduction into the Lower House of Parliament of a Bill aimed at extending the powers of security services in the nation as it fights the threat of attack during the Games, which is due to start on February 7.

Russia is on high security alert following a string of deadly terrorist attacks in recent weeks.

Two separate suicide bombings in the city of Volgograd killed 34 people in December ©AFP/Getty ImagesTwo separate suicide bombings in the city of Volgograd killed 34 people in December ©AFP/Getty Images

As well as the explosion in Pyatigorsk, two separate bombings one day apart in the city of Volgograd killed 34 people last month, while the discovery of six bodies and at least one booby-trapped car in the Stavropol region last week sparked the launch of another new anti-terror operation.

Meanwhile, five members of a banned militant group were arrested and a homemade bomb defused in the southern city of Nalchik on Saturday (January 11).

President Vladimir Putin has put forces on combat alert in Sochi and about 37,000 personnel are now in place to provide security for the Olympics and Paralympics.

Russia's Investigative Committee is now calling on civilians to be more vigilant and help avert the threat of "terrorist" attacks.

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