Investigators have identified the attacker in Surgut, Russia, the Investigative Committee’s representative Svetlana Petrenko said, according to TASS news agency. “According to the preliminary information, he is a local resident, born in 1994.”
Arthur Hajiyev (19) neutralised by police, was a son to Lametulakh, listed as an extremist and known to Russian authorities as an adherent of a radical religious movement. Artur Hajiyev and his entire family came to oil-producing Surgut, the third richest Russian city, from Dagestan, notorious for Islamist’s underground.
Initially the incident was not declared a terrorist attack, but an action of a mentally unstable individual, the version did not sound credible when later the same day the Islamic State via ‘Amaq News Agency’ claimed responsibility for the massacre, leaving eight people injured, and perpetrator dead. A number of sources insisted that the attacker shouted “Allah Akbar!’ waving the knife.
The massacre occurred on Saturday, August 19 at 11:20 local time in the centre of Surgut, Siberia, when armed with a knife, Hajiyev attacked pedestrians.
According to an eyewitness, the attacker wearing a balaclava threw a smoke bomb at Severny shopping centre, then headed to the central streets, first assaulting people at a bus stop. Police arrived immediately and ‘neutralized’ the attacker, who was wearing also a shahid (martyr) belt with a dummy bomb.
‘One man is in critical condition, he receives special treatment. Three victims are in severe condition, and the others are in a moderate-to-severe condition. One of the patients is already at home’, – Komarova said.
The head of the Investigation Committee of Russian Federation Alexandre Bastrykin supervises the enquiry. However Russian authorities has not qualified the incident as a terrorist act so far.
After the authorities declared the assailant dead, the police launched an operation ‘Interception’, asking the inhabitants of Surgut to stay home. The shopping malls were evacuated and closed. According to Novaya Gazeta, citing local media, population ignored the plea and massively fled the city.