Heavy fighting in the Chechen capital of Grozny is currently ongoing. Voice of America is reporting that at least three police officers have been killed since the fighting began on midnight Dec. 4. This number is likely to be less than what the actual number is. Russia Today is reporting that seven militants have been killed by Russian security forces, but this claim cannot be verified.
It is likely the militants are from the al Qaeda-affiliated Caucasus Emirate (CE), which operates throughout the North Caucasus and aspires to create an Islamic state. One Caucasus Emirate affiliated Facebook page has reported that those militants involved are indeed from the CE. This claim has not been confirmed and the post's claim of 400 CE fighters is also not confirmed. However, according to a translation of this video, a fighter says that200-300 fighters are outside of Grozny.
However, more than a dozen of alleged CE fighters can be seen exiting from vehicles at the start of the attack below.
ABC News is reporting a Russian counterterrorism operation is currently happening to stymie the militant assault. In a picture seen below, Russian armored personnel carriers are seen in the streets of Grozny.
According to various sources, the Grozny Press House is being targeted in this militant operation. In a few pictures, heavy fire can be seen coming from the windows of the building. A video has also been uploaded purporting to show rocket fire being directed at the building. The video can be seen below:
More footage showcasing heavy gunfire in the distance, as well as a burning car in the streets can be seen below.
This is a developing situation and this post will be updated with new information as it becomes available.
Joanna Paraszczuk of From Chechnya to Syria, a website that tracks Russian-speaking fighters in Syria, noted on Twitter that an aforementioned video of a Chechen militant speaking at Grozny mentions that the fighters have bayah (allegiance) to the Caucasus Emirate. The video was published by Kavkaz Center, which is the Caucasus Emirate's media outlet. The video cannot be confirmed as authentic, however.
The aforementioned Caucasus Emirate-affiliated Facebook account has posted that the operation is in retaliation for Doku Umarov's death and that this operation was authorized by Abu Muhammad al Dagestani, who is the current head of the CE.
Doku Umarov, the former head, was killed last year, allegedly from poisoning.