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Russia: Hijacked Bus Stormed; Hostages Freed


Moscow, 31 July (RFE/RL) -- Russian anti-terrorist units today stormed a hijacked bus with some 30 passengers in southern Russia, killing one gunman and releasing all hostages. Security officials said the gunman was killed by a sniper during the police operation in Mineralnye Vody, in southern Russia. There were no serious injuries among the hostages.

Russian Prosecutor-General Vladimir Ustinov said the man was acting alone and no accomplice was found among the passengers despite earlier reports that two gunmen were involved. Police identified the gunman as Sultan-Said Idiev, an ethnic Chechen.

The bus with at least 40 passengers was hijacked earlier today near the Russian city of Nevinnomyssk and then taken to Mineralnye Vody. The hijacker demanded money, weapons, and the release of a group of Chechens serving prison sentences in Russia for a similar bus hijacking in 1994.

At least 11 hostages were released during the day.

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