10/19/2010, 00.00
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Chechen rebels attack Parliament and the Ministry of Agriculture in Grozny

All fighters and an unknown number of other people have been killed in the operation. The President of the Parliament was able to escape. The attack came as the Russian Interior Minister visits the Chechen capital.

Moscow (AsiaNews / Agencies) This morning Chechen rebels launched an attack on Parliament buildings and the Ministry of Agriculture in Grozny, which has resulted in the death of all members of the commando. “The operation is over, all rebels have been killed” reported Interfax quoting a security forces source in Chechnya. According to the same Russian agency a meeting between the Russian Interior Minister who is in Grozny and the Chechen president Ramzan Kadyrov is underway.

The reconstruction of events is not yet clear. It appears that a suicide bomber blew himself up outside the Parliament, while two accomplices fired on soldiers guarding the building. The Chechen rebels then entered the parliament building in Grozny taking several people hostage. This was confirmed by an anonymous source in the regional Interior Ministry, adding that three guards were killed in the attack.

The situation remains confused, even with regard to the dynamics of the attack. According to the agency RIA Novosti two people died in the first suicide attack. According to other sources, there were no explosions, three or four armed men instead stormed the building shooting. The President of Parliament, Dukuvakha Abdurakhmanov, remained inside the building and was unarmed. According to the latest news he managed to leave the building and was not hurt.

The shooting continued for about an hour inside the building. "Regular police forces, officers in riot gear and a unit of the Parliament Security Service intervened," said a security source. The Ministry of Agriculture is under attack, according to Russian news agency Itar-Tass, quoting a source in the same department.

An attempt was underway in Chechnya sought by President Ramzan Kadyrov – a close Kremlin ally - to impose “Chechen traditional Islam" on his country to reduce the strength of fundamentalist Islam.

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