Moscow: Militants wearing suicide vests on Tuesday stormed and seized Parliament of Russia`s strife-torn Chechnya region, killing at least three policemen and injuring 17 others as they held lawmakers and officials hostage, before being eliminated in a standoff with security forces.
Four militants were involved in the attack, which began
"when a vehicle carrying terrorists drove in on the tail of a
car carrying a member of Parliament into the highly-protected
compound," Interfax reported quoting police sources.
Three policemen were killed and 17 wounded in the
militant attack on the Parliament building in the provincial
capital of Grozny in the restive Caucasus republic of
Chechnya, media reports said.
All the four attackers were also killed -- two of whom
blew themselves up while two were shot dead by the security
forces, ITAR-TASS reported quoting Interior Ministry sources.
State-run Rossiya 24 TV channel said there were no
President Dmitry Medvedev, who is on a visit to France,
and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who is in Moscow, were
briefed on phone by the pro-Moscow Chechen head Ramzan
Kadyrov told the Interfax news agency that Chechen
security forces killed the militants in an intense 20-minute
operation to kill the militants and free the deputies or
lawmakers and employees from the building.
"All deputies are alive and were taken from the territory
of the parliament building to safety," Kadyrov was quoted as
Deputy chief of Chechen Interior Ministry, Roman Edilov,
said two police officers were among the dead. He, however,
denied that the militants had taken hostages, RIA Novosti
Federal Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev, who is
currently in Grozny, lauded the professionalism of the
commando team in operation to eliminate the terrorists,
Russia fought two wars with Chechen separatists in the
1990s before installing a loyal government there in 2000. In
recent years, Grozny has seldom witnessed terror attacks.
However, a shootout between Kadyrov`s guards and
suspected insurgents left 19 people dead in his village in
Speaker Abdurahmanov, who was in the parliament
building, was reported to be safe.
NTV channel said the sporadic firing could still be
heard from inside the parliament building and authorities
rushed commando teams to suppress the militant attack.
"At the moment the shooting is continuing and special
units of interior ministry troops, riot police and the Chechen
presidential security service are arriving at the building," a
security source told Interfax.
It said that according to some sources the shooting
was in the office of the parliament speaker.
The attack coincided with the visit of Federal
Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev to Grozny, who was
immediately informed about the attack.
Interfax reported that in two suicide blasts at least
four guards were killed and Chechen president Ramzan Kadyrov
is personally carrying the operation to flush out the
militants from the building.
In 2004, over 330 people were killed in Russia`s most
shocking hostage tragedy when Chechen militants stormed a
school in the town of Beslan in the Northern Cacuasus region
of North Ossetia.