Estonian Attacker Was Member of Pro-Russian Minority PartyWorld | August 11, 2011, Thursday // 20:55| views
Police cordon outside the defence ministry building in Tallinn, Estonia, where a gunman took hostages Thursday. Photo by EPA/BGNES
The attacker who took two hostages at the Ministry of Defense of Estonia before taking his own life was a member of party defending the interests of part of the Russian minority in the country, according to Estonia's Prosecutor's Office.
The Prosecutor's Office, quoted by RIA Novosti, refuted earlier reports that the attacker was a former Estonian military affected by recent reductions in the numbers of the army.
The man was identified as 55-years-old Armenian-born Karen Drambjan, member of the United Left Party of Estonia. Earlier reports had it that he was shouting in Russian while carrying out the attack.
Thursday afternoon he went into the Ministry of Defense in Tallinn, producing several shots and detonating a bomb, before taking two hostages.
Police promptly surrounded and stormed the building, during which operation the attacker was left dead. It is not clear whether he was killed by police, or committed suicide, as some sources have claimed.
No one else has been hurt, including the two hostages, who have been safely released.
Estonian authorities are carrying out further investigations of the tragic incident.
There is a large, 25% percent Russian minority in Estonia, concentrated in capital Tallinn, as well as the cities of Narva and Kohtla-J?rve.
There has frequently been uneasiness and tension between the two groups, with ethnic Estonians holding a feeling of resentment over centuries-long Russian domination, and ethnic Russians complaining of discrimination.