Alleged Islamist extremists in the former Soviet republic of Kazakhstan killed at least five people in the worst terrorist attack in the country in years, officials said Sunday.
Security forces in the north-western city of Aktobe killed four of the attackers and captured seven others, the Interior Ministry said.
Approximately 20 individuals robbed two weapons shops and a national guard base, before exchanging fire with the military and police.
During an attempt to acquire weapons, the attackers killed three people and police shot three attackers, officials said.
At the national guard base, the attackers rammed a bus into the gate. They shot dead three guardsmen and wounded six others. One of the attackers was wounded in an exchange of gunfire.
The Muslim majority country like other central Asian nations fears the potential rise of Islamist terrorism, but has also downplayed the risk. The Interior Ministry did not identify the attackers as Islamists, instead calling them "supporters of radical, non-traditional religious streams."
A terror alarm was put into effect in the city of 400,000 people about 100 kilometres from the Russian border, the Interfax news agency reported.
Islamic State has threatened Kazakhstan in video messages in recent weeks, terrorism expert Erlan Karin told local news site vlast.kz.