Four killed in police station attack in Kazakhstan
Three police officers and a civilian have been gunned down in an attack on a police station in Kazakhstan's largest city.
The interior ministry said the officers were killed in gun battles with two unidentified men inside and outside a police station in central Almaty.
While fleeing from the police station, one of the gunmen shot and killed a local resident and then hijacked his car.
The attack began when one gunman shot at a duty officer and took his machine gun, the police said.
The man then fled in the car, shooting at a traffic police crew and injuring two before he was detained a mile away.
Police identified him as a 27-year-old former convict who was wanted for the murder of a woman last weekend.
The other man remained at large. Police did not detail the role of the other gunman but said the search was on.
Leading news website Tengrinews.kz carried photos of an injured police officer, while social media users posted videos of what appeared to be armoured vehicles driving through the city.
Authorities did not mention the number of injured but local media reported seven people are in hospital in a critical condition.
The attack comes a month after 20 people were killed in the Kazakh city of Aktobe when groups of gunmen attacked a military base and a gun shop. Authorities described that incident as a terrorist attack and blamed it on radical Islamists.
Energy-rich Kazakhstan, arguably one of the most prosperous former Soviet republics, is a predominantly Muslim but largely secular nation.
Officials raised the terror threat level to red - the highest level - after the attack but would not immediately identify the affiliation of the attackers.
Local media also reported that gun shops across Almaty, Kazakhstan's commercial capital, have been closed.