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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Azeri Boy Stabbed by Georgian

A 16-year-old Azeri boy was in critical condition Thursday after a Georgian classmate repeatedly stabbed him, police said.

Emen Odgakhguluyev was stabbed up to 10 times by Besik Kochalidze, also 16, during recess at School No. 563, near the Kakhovskaya metro station, said Marina Molokova, spokeswoman for the southwestern regional police department.

Following the attack, Odgakhguluyev was rushed to a nearby hospital, where doctors performed a five-hour operation, said City Prosecutor's Office spokeswoman Svetlana Petrenko. He was then transferred to the intensive care unit and was expected to survive, Petrenko said.

A motive for the attack had not yet been determined, Petrenko said. But Novaya Izvestia reported that there had been a language dispute.

"We are still investigating the incident, and we are still searching for the suspect," Molokova said.

Kochalidze's whereabouts are unknown.

Police found his family's apartment deserted and believe the teenager may have fled to Georgia, Molokova said.

But Molokova noted that airport and railway authorities have been asked to look out for Kochalidze and, so far, have reported nothing.

Two days before the stabbing, Novaya Izvestia reported, Kochalidze addressed Odgakhguluyev in Georgian in a school corridor. Odgakhguluyev objected, asking to continue the conversation in Russian.

That apparently infuriated Kochalidze, who attacked Odgakhguluyev with a ballpoint pen, drawing blood.

School director Lidiya Todorova was quoted as saying that she asked the parents of both boys to keep them at home for two or three days, until the dust had settled.

Two days later, after both boys had returned to school, the stabbing took place in a schoolyard.

It remains unclear whether nationality played the decisive role in sparking the violence or whether other factors contributed.

The school, in southwestern Moscow, is a magnet for students from the Caucasus. It is located in the Zyuzino neighborhood. Petrenko, from the City Prosecutor's Office, said the area is roughly half Slavic and half Caucasian.

Todorova on Tuesday was unwilling to comment on the case, citing the ongoing investigation.

When pressed, she handed the phone to an associate, who also declined to comment.