A daring terrorist attack on Chechnya's Parliament on Tuesday left at least seven people dead and 17 wounded.
Four gunmen in a car drove into the closely guarded territory of Parliament in the Chechen capital Grozny by following a convoy of official cars around 9 a.m.. As one terrorist set off a suicide bomb, the others stormed into the Parliament building, shouting “Allahu Akbar”.
The attackers killed two security personnel and a civilian worker and wounded six policemen and 11 civilians before being eliminated by a special police unit.
The attack could have been timed to coincide with a visit to Grozny on Tuesday of Russia's Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev.
In August, a group of suicide gunmen attacked Tsenteroi, the heavily fortified home village of Chechnya's President Ramzan Kadyrov.
Russia's troubled North Caucasus has seen a four-fold rise in terrorist attacks this year, a deputy Prosecutor General said last month.
Shaken deputies wearing bullet-proof vests were led out to safety while headscarved women who work in Parliament were guided into an armoured personnel carrier.
“We heard shots in the courtyard and we knew they were trying to take us hostage. We managed to take refuge on the third floor where we stayed until the end of the operation,” spokesman for the Chechen Parliament Zelim Yakhikhanov told AFP.
Chechnya's leader Ramzan Kadyrov said in a statement security forces staged an intense 20-minute operation to kill the militants and free the Parliament deputies and employees from the building.