Suicide Bombers Launch Deadly Attack On Chechen Parliament


Moscow, Russia -- Three suicide bombers launched an attack on the Chechen parliament Tuesday, killing at least three people, officials told CNN.

The exact number of casualties in the attack was unclear. Various state news agencies provided figures that differed from that offered by the Investigative Committee of the Russian Prosecutor's Office.

Vladimir Markin of the Prosecutor's Office said two police officers and a civilian died in the attack. Six other officers and 11 civilians were wounded, he said.

However, Russian state TV said four officers died and 10 others were wounded. No lawmakers were hurt, the station said.

A few hours later, the Russian Prosecutor's Office reported that police had the situation under control.

The militants entered the parliament compound as lawmakers were making their way in, according to RIA Novosti, another state news agency.

One of them blew himself up at the entrance to the building, while two others managed to get inside and barricade themselvs on the ground floor of the building, Markin said. As they were attacked by security forces, they too blew themselves up, he said.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who was on a visit to France, was informed about the incident, the Kremlin reported on its website.

Rebels in Chechnya have been fighting for independence and it has exacted a heavy toll both inside Russia and in the North Caucasus region where Chechnya is located.

The standard of living in the southwestern republic is poor compared with the rest of Russia. Unemployment is rampant and infant mortality is high.

The conflict dates back nearly 20 years, with Chechens having laid claim to land in the Caucasus Mountains region. Thousands have been killed and 500,000 Chechen people have been displaced from the fighting.