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06:42, 27 June 2017 Tuesday
12:41, 19 August 2012 Sunday

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Seven policemen killed in Russian Caucasus bomb attack
Seven policemen killed in Russian Caucasus bomb attack

A bomb attack killed seven police officers hours after masked gunmen opened fire in a mosque in Dagestan, wounding eight people.

World Bulletin/News Desk

A bomb attack killed seven police officers attending the funeral of a colleague in Ingushetia in Russia's North Caucasus region, hours after masked gunmen opened fire in a mosque in Dagestan, killing one and wounding eight people.

The seven policemen were killed and 10 others wounded when a bomber attacked a wake being held on Sunday for a fellow officer shot a day earlier in the Malgobek district in the north of the Russian province of Ingushetia, news agencies reported.

"A suicide bomber went into the courtyard of a private home, where police officers had come to offer condolences to their late colleague and activated a bomb device attached to a belt," a spokesman for the local investigators, Zurab Geroyev, told the Interfax news agency.

The bombing came hours after masked assailants opened fire in a mosque in the nearby Dagestan region, killing one and wounding eight Muslims who were celebrating the end of the holy month of Ramadan. A man who was injured in the attack said some 50 people were gathered in the mosque at the time of the attack.

"We were sitting, just finished our prayer and wanted to break our fast," said Rukhit Samedov, wearing a blood stained T-shirt and cradling a bandaged hand.

"People just sat down, started eating, and the door opened and there was shooting from automatic guns," he told Reuters.

"They wore masks and some sort of camouflage."

Law enforcement officers said they were working to deactivate bombs left by the attackers at the mosque in the city of Khasavyurt.

"Eight people have been admitted to the hospital. Five of them are in the trauma unit, three are in intensive care. Two of those are in a very grave condition," Ramazan Ismailov, the chief surgeon at the Khasavyurt hospital, told Reuters. 

Eid ul-Fitr, which marks the end of the holy month of fasting of Ramadan, is celebrated between Sunday and Tuesday this year. 



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Cyprus president seeks peace deal in Switzerland
Cyprus president seeks peace deal in Switzerland

Cypriot president Nicos Anastasiades said Monday he hopes to clinch a reunification deal laying out a new security blueprint for the divided island during a crunch summit in Switzerland this week. Anastasiades will attend United Nations-backed talks at the Alpine Crans-Montana ski resort Wednesday with "complete determination and goodwill... to achieve a desired solution", he said in a statement. He said he hopes to "abolish the anachronistic system of guarantees and intervention rights", with a deal providing for the withdrawal of the Turkish army. The eastern Mediterranean island has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded its northern third in response to an Athens-inspired coup seeking union with Greece. Turkey maintains around 35,000 troops in northern Cyprus. The so-called guarantor powers of Turkey, Britain and Greece retain the right to intervene militarily on the island. Greek and Turkish Cypriots are at odds over a new security blueprint, but their leaders are under pressure to reach an elusive peace deal. "I am going to Switzerland to participate in the Cyprus conference, with the sole aim and intent of solving the Cyprus problem," Anastasiades said. Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci is also set to attend the summit, which is expected to last at least 10 days. Greece, Turkey and Britain will send envoys along with an observer from the European Union. UN-led talks on the island hit a wall in late May after the sides failed to agree terms to advance toward a final summit. Unlocking the security question would allow Anastasiades and Akinci to make unprecedented concessions on core issues. But they have major differences on what a new security blueprint should look like. Anastasiades's internationally recognised government, backed by Athens, seeks an agreement to abolish intervention rights, with Turkish troops withdrawing from the island on a specific timeline. Turkish Cypriots and Ankara argue for some form of intervention rights and a reduced number of troops remaining in the north. Turkish Cypriots want the conference to focus on broader issues of power-sharing, property rights and territory for the creation of a new federation. Much of the progress to date has been based on strong personal rapport between Anastasiades and Akinci, leader of the breakaway Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. But that goodwill has appeared frayed in the build-up to their meeting in Switzerland. The Greek Cypriot presidential election next February has also complicated the landscape, as has the government's search for offshore oil and gas, which Ankara argues should be suspended until the negotiations have reached an outcome.