Just hours ahead of Vladimir Putin's annual address to the Russian parliament violence erupts in restive Chechnya
Moscow says an anti-terrorist operation is ongoing in the Chechen capital Grozny following an assault by an unknown number of gunmen in the early hours of this morning.
At least seven attackers have been killed along with six police officers according to Russia’s Tass agency.
The attack began when a police patrol car was ambushed and the attackers stormed a building housing local media. They were then surrounded by security forces.
Chechen President Ramzan [Kadyrov](< http://www.worldcrunch.com/world-affairs/from-ukraine-to-syria-mercenaries-with-a-cause/mercenaries-caucasian-caucasus-ukraine-chechen/c1s16981/#.VIAVP1OYc1N >) used social media to say the “terrorists were annihilated”, and was quoted as saying several others were barricaded into a school in the city centre. He said in a radio interview clearing them out would take “15 minutes”.
Grozny was recently rebuilt after lying in ruins for years following separatist wars with Russia in the 1990s. Europe’s largest mosque, a copy of Istanbul’s Blue Mosque, is its centrepiece, but Grozny was hit by a suicide bomber in October who killed five policemen and injured 12 others when stopped and asked for his ID.