Islamist rebels have stormed the parliament of the Russian republic of Chechnya in a brazen suicide attack.
At least three gunmen hurled bombs and opened fire on deputies as they arrived for work.
Four guards have been killed along with the attackers.
One rebel blew himself up while the others sprayed bullets screaming “God is great.”
Forces loyal to the Kremlin-backed Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov then occupied the building.
Aleksei Malashenko is a political analyst at the Carnegie Centre in Moscow:
“It becomes a tradition to show Ramzan Kadyrov that he doesn’t control the situation in the republic , and moreover he is not able to control the situation in the capital, in the heart of Chechnya, in Grozny.”
The violence is an indication that the region is far from stable.
Last year, President Dmitry Medvedev announced an end to the federal anti-terrorist operations claiming “Life in Chechnya is getting back to normal.”
Many believe the whole of the North Caucasus is seeing a growing Islamist insurgency.
In March this year, two female Chechen separatists bombed the Moscow Metro, killing as many as 40 people.