ASTANA – Authorities said three police officers and one civilian were killed July 18 when suspects attacked local police precinct and the department of National Security Committee buildings in Almaty, Kazakhstan’s largest city and commercial centre.
A red terror alert has been declared in the city and police are asking citizens to follow the protocols of such a red alert, according to press services of the city’s Internal Affairs and National Security Committee Departments.
The area around Almaly District Office of Internal Affairs was sealed off. According to eyewitnesses, shootings were heard not far from the nearby Nikolsk Market, Tengrinews.kz reports. They also said that employees of neighbouring buildings were not allowed out of their offices and, according to the office workers, overall 10 shots were heard fired.
“First there were three or four one-time firings, and then as if a series of shots was there. The unknown [suspect] ran with a gun along Karasai Batyr to the side of Baitursinov,” they stated, according to the news agency.
Two police officers were also injured in a firefight with the suspects. According to the police, one suspect was apprehended and identified, while another was on the loose.
The building of the Department of National Security Committee was sealed off as well, with an ambulance and police arriving.
A resident of a two-storey building next to the city’s national security department said he was sleeping when everything started, he heard sounds similar to those of firecracker blasts.
“But when I looked out the window, I realised it is a firefight. Everyone was told to shut their windows and hide,” an eyewitness said, according to the agency.
A railway station was also closed off and an anti-terrorist operation have been declared in the city.
A red terror alert is declared when either a terror attack has been committed or when information about potential repeated terror acts is confirmed.
At press time, residents were asked not to leave their homes and report on suspicious individuals, Tengrinews.kz reports.
The Akorda presidential residence announced that President Nursultan Nazarbayev convened a meeting of the nation’s Security Council a few hours after the attacks.