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Russian media names Moscow gunman as 39-year-old local

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Moscow (AFP)

Russian media on Friday identified the man who opened fire near the headquarters of the security service in central Moscow, killing one and wounding five, as a 39-year-old from a nearby town.

While there has been no official confirmation of the identity of the attacker shot by security forces after the exchange of fire on Thursday evening, Russian media named the man as a former security guard who practiced shooting as a hobby and lived in the town of Podolsk, around 40 kilometres (25 miles) south of Moscow.

Numerous channels on the Telegram messenger service published a photo of the dead attacker, a bearded man in glasses with his face bloodied.

Komsomolskaya Pravda tabloid and Ren TV channel reported that the alleged attacker had an arsenal of seven guns that he owned legally, citing an investigator.

The FSB, a successor to the KGB, has given little information on the lone gunman who was killed after an attack Thursday evening outside its notorious headquarters on Lubyanka Square close to a busy shopping area in the heart of the Russian capital.

The Investigative Committee, which probes serious crimes, said one officer from the security service was killed and five people, including a civilian, were being treated for injuries.

- Motives unclear -

The attacker took part in marksmanship competitions and an instructor at his gun club, Oleg Solovich, told Komsomolskaya Pravda he owned weapons legally but "shot badly."

It published a photograph of the modest five-storey block where the attacker lived as investigators carried out a search there.

The attack took place in the early evening as people were going home from work or sat in cafes.

Footage shot by passers-by showed people running in panic, and witnesses told AFP that they took shelter in cafe backrooms as shots rang out.

The motives behind the shooting remained unclear.

It came on the eve of the Day of Security Service in Russia which is celebrated on December 20 and hours after President Vladimir Putin held a marathon annual press conference in central Moscow.

Russia has in the last few years been hit by a spate of attacks blamed on Islamic extremists, often hailing from the restive Northern Caucasus region.

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