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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Chechen Parliament in Russia Attached

Chechen parliament in Grozny Attacked leaves six dead.

Six people were killed and 10 others injured when at least three militants stormed parliament in the restive Russian republic of Chechnya.

Shouting Islamist slogans, they launched a bomb and gun attack as deputies arrived for work, and two guards and an official were killed.

All of the attackers were killed, according to Ramzan Kadyrov, Chechnya's Kremlin-backed president.

Deputies inside the building managed to escape by moving to an upper floor.

The attack was condemned by the EU foreign policy chief, Baroness Ashton, who was quoted by AFP news agency as saying: "No circumstances can justify the use of terrorist violence and suicide attacks."

The EU was, she added, ready to "strengthen co-operation with the Russian Federation in the fight against international terrorism".

Correspondents say the incident in the capital Grozny is a reminder that the region is far from stable.

Last year Moscow declared victory against Chechen separatists and there has been a relative lull in the violence under Mr Kadyrov.

But the whole North Caucasus is seeing an insurgency led by Islamist rebels, correspondents say.

'Allahu Akbar'

Militants struck at about 0845 (0445 GMT), attacking policemen guarding the parliament building, Mr Kadyrov told Russian news agency Interfax.

At least one attacker appears to have set off a suicide bomb just outside the building before the others rushed inside, exchanging fire with security guards.

They could be heard shouting "Allahu Akbar" - Arabic for "God is great" - as they ran inside, according to Chechen security sources.

A spokesman for the Chechen parliament, Zelim Yakhikhanov, said deputies had feared they would be taken hostage when they heard shooting outside the building.

"We managed to take refuge on the third floor where we stayed until the end of the operation," he told AFP news agency.

President Kadyrov said the operation to suppress the attack took between 15 and 20 minutes. The official killed was reportedly the parliamentary bursar.


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