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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

2 Chechen Policemen Killed in Shocking Daylight Attack

Gunmen killed two policemen in the center of Grozny on Monday in a blatant daylight attack, jerking the Chechen capital out of the relative peace of the last few months.

Officials declined to comment on the shooting, but passers-by recognized the two dead men as policemen.

Also in Grozny on Monday, a Muslim cleric and his brother were killed by unidentified gunmen. Several assailants shot the two men dead at pointblank range in Grozny, the Rostov regional branch of the Interior Ministry said in a statement. It did not identify the victims.

In the first attack, witnesses said the attackers sprayed the two policemen with machine-gun fire.

"We were standing on the street and saw how two people came out of a building on Victory Avenue. People in a car opened fire on them," said Zaira, who works at a beauty salon nearby.

"They fired back and wounded one of the attackers. One woman was injured, and taken off to the hospital."

The two bodies lay on their backs on the central Victory Avenue, one of them with obvious bullet holes in his leg and chest, before being gathered up and loaded into a car.

A Stechkin pistol — a type only issued to special forces — lay on the ground between them.

"This shoot-out today destroyed all my illusions about peace. People had gotten unaccustomed to shooting, and were just shocked," said Umar Salamov, from the village of Samashki, who witnessed the attack.

"I don't have words," he said. "I am as shocked as everyone else."

(AP, Reuters)