A gunman opened fire at a school in central Russia, killing at least 17 people and injuring 24 others before killing himself, authorities said.

The shooting took place Monday at school No. 88 in Izhevsk, a town 960 km (600 miles) east of Moscow in the Udmurtia region.

The Russian Investigative Committee identified the shooter as Artyom Kazantsev, 34, a graduate of the same school, and said he was wearing a black t-shirt with “Nazi symbols” on it. No details of his motives have been released.

The Udmurtia government said 17 people, including 11 children, were killed in the shooting. According to the Russian investigative commission, 24 other people, including 22 children, were injured in the attack.

Udmurtia Governor Alexander Brechalov said the gunman, who he said was registered as a patient in a mental institution, committed suicide after the attack.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday denounced the Izhevsk attack as “inhumane”.

“President Putin deeply mourns the death of people, children, in a school where there was a terrorist attack by a person apparently belonging to a neo-fascist group,” the Kremlin spokesman told reporters. , Dmitry Peskov.

“The President wishes the recovery of those injured as a result of this inhumane terrorist attack,” Peskov added.

Map of Izhevsk

The Russian National Guard said Kazantsev used two non-lethal handguns adapted to fire live ammunition. The weapons were not registered with the authorities. A criminal investigation into the incident has been opened for multiple murders and illegal possession of firearms.

The school, which caters for children aged 6 to 17, was evacuated and the area around it cordoned off.

Izhevsk is a city of about 640,000 people located west of the Ural Mountains in central Russia.

The attack comes at a critical time for Russia, which is waging a deadly war in Ukraine and recently announced a partial mobilization order to bolster its forces.

Hours before the school shooting, a man opened fire and injured a military recruiting officer at a recruiting center in Siberia.

“Any school shooting is a cause of deep concern for authorities, families and the nation at large. We have seen this in the United States and many other countries,” said Al Jazeera’s Mohamed Vall, reporting from Moscow.

“But the Russians say it’s not common in Russia – and most of the time it’s hard to establish the motives behind it.”

Police and paramedics work at the scene of a shooting at school No. 88 in Izhevsk, Russia
Police and paramedics at the scene of the Izhevsk school shooting [AP Photo]

The last such tragedy took place in April 2022, when a man killed two children and a teacher at a kindergarten in the central Ulyanovsk region before committing suicide.

In May 2021, nine people – including seven children – were killed after a lone teenager opened fire in the southwestern Russian city of Kazan.

In 2018, a college student in Russia’s Crimea killed 20 people before turning his gun on himself.

Other high-profile shooting cases have taken place in the Russian military, bringing the issue of hazing to the fore in the country where military service is compulsory for men between the ages of 18 and 27.

In November 2020, a 20-year-old soldier killed three military comrades at a military base near the city of Voronezh. In a similar attack in 2019, a young recruit shot and killed eight servicemen, claiming he was being bullied and harassed in the military.

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