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Thirteen dead in Azeri college shooting

THIRTEEN people were killed at a university in Azerbaijan today when a gunman moving floor to floor opened fire on teachers and students after the bell rang for morning classes.

A police source said the gunman was among the dead.

The state prosecutor's office said 13 people were killed and 13 wounded in the shooting at the State Oil Academy in Baku, capital of Azerbaijan.

It said the gunman was a Georgian citizen of Azeri origin. "He climbed from the first floor to the sixth, shooting people mainly in the head from a Makarov pistol," a Russian-made semi-automatic pistol, the prosecutor's office said.

According to Azeri ANS television, the gunman shot dead a security guard and a cleaner as he entered the building, before opening fire on students and teachers.

Two foreign citizens -- from Syria and Sudan -- were among the dead, a police source said. The motive was not clear.

Police closed access roads and special forces surrounded the building. Photographs showed pools of blood on the steps to the university and paramedics carrying out bodies in bags.

A source at the emergency ministry confirmed the gunman was alone, though confused and frightened students leaving the building spoke of two attackers.

One student said the shooting started shortly after the bell rang for morning classes at 9am (0500 GMT), with a gunman climbing the stairs and opening fire on each of the six floors.

Another witness said a student had approached the gunman shouting "Don't shoot, don't shoot!" before being shot in the head.

Education Minister Misir Mardanov told reporters: "I feel deep regret, and consider this a terrible incident for our society."


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