Three policemen were killed by gunmen in Kazakhstan's financial capital Almaty on Monday. Also one civilian was murdered, and several others were injured following an attack on a police station, the country's interior ministry said.
"A religious radical and probably a follower of non-traditional Islam” opened fire in the center of the city from time to time, police source said.
Witnesses said they had heard shots in several areas in the center of Almaty.
“At first there were three or four single shots fired, and then there was a round. The unknown attacker ran away with the machine gun, and the policemen ran after him,” employees at nearby offices told Bestnews.kz media outlet.
Police cordoned off several central streets, including the one near a local office of the KNB security police, where shots were also heard. The railway station was briefly closed.
One attacker had been detained by the police. According to police, the second gunman is at large.
The Kazakh Interior Ministry said on Monday an anti-terrorist operation had been launched in Almaty. A red level anti-terror alert has been announced in the city, meaning the level of danger is critical. It is enacted only when authorities know that a terrorist act has been committed, and that there is still a possibility that more will take place.
An anti-terror operation is underway in Almaty, the local interior ministry said, asking residents not to leave their apartments and avoid public places. Locals have also been asked to inform police of any suspicious people, and treat the situation with understanding.