A group of terrorists seized two apartments in the building
Commandoes have stormed the five-storied apartment block in the Russian city of Nalchik (the republic of Kabardino-Balkaria), which terrorists seized two days ago. A police officer of Kabardino-Balkaria was wounded in the special operation.
A source from the republic's Internal Affairs Ministry said that the storm started at 8.30 a.m. Guerrillas responded with automatic fire and grenades. “We were negotiating with them for more than 24 hours, asking them to yield. The talks did not bring any results, that is why we decided to storm the building,” an official spokesman for the ministry said.
”The police of Kabardino-Balkaria started the special operation at 8:38 a.m. The terrorists took cover in two flats of the apartment block in Nalchik. After the special services fired grenade launchers at the building, two women appeared on the balcony of one of the apartments that the terrorists seized. The special operation was suspended,” a source said.
A fire broke out on the fourth storey of the blocked building at 8:42 a.m. The fire stopped an hour later – most likely, the terrorists extinguished it themselves.
Two apartments have been completely destroyed during the siege. Nothing has been reported yet about the fate of the gunmen and the women.
The police originally believed that the two women in the seized apartments were hostages. Internal Affairs Minister, Khachim Shogenov, stated that they were not hostages but terrorists' wives or friends. One of them has been reportedly identified as Janna Katsieva – the wife of Muslim Atayev (30 years old), the leader of the criminal religious group Jamaat Yarmuk. The terrorist and six members of his group seized the apartment block on the outskirts of Nalchik two days ago, Itar-Tass reports. Muslim Atayev's three-year-old child is reportedly staying in one of the two apartments that the terrorists seized.
”We do not wage war with women or children. We asked the terrorists to take them out of the building, but they refused,” the internal affairs minister said. “Those terrorists are the ones that we have been looking for. They are most likely the leaders of the terrorist group,” he added.
According to the information from the Internal Affairs Ministry, the terrorists seized two apartments of the building's first and fourth stories. They are the only people in the building; all other tenants have been evacuated. In addition, the building has been cut from electric, water and gas supplies.
The terrorists were asking for a “corridor” during negotiations with the authorities – they wanted to leave the building together with the above-mentioned women.
Five members of Jamaat Yarmuk movement were put on wanted list in the summer of 2004, when they showed armed resistance in a clash with the Kabardino-Balkarian police. Muslim Atayev, also known as Seifullah, used to be an accomplice of notorious Chechen warlord Ruslan Gelayev. In Kabardino-Balkaria, Atayev established a terrorist group, which counted about 30 followers of Wakhabism.