The messenger logo

The News in Brief

Monday, November 27
Questions Remain After Tbilisi Shootout

(TBILISI) -- Key questions remain unanswered since Georgian police launched a counter terrorism rain on unidentified armed suspects that resulted in a 20-hour stand-off and a gun battle that killed and one.

The Georgian State Security Service’s (SSS) reported on November 21that a group of armed individuals had barricaded themselves inside an apartment on the outskirts of the capital Tbilisi. When they refused to surrender to law enforcement agents, a fierce gun battle ensued that killed three of the four assailants and injured four police officers.

With the lone surviving suspect in custody, the SSS reported that the group were foreign national and members of an international terrorist organization

Despite their initial statements to the media in the hours after the operation, the security services have yet to release the names and citizenship details of the suspects or discuss their possible links to terror groups.

State Security Service head, Vakhang Gomelauri, appeared to contradict the SSS’ initial statements and refused on November 22 to confirm that the suspects were members of a terrorist organization.

Gomelauri’s reluctance to confirm the earlier reports flew in the face of a statement by Internal Affairs Minister Giorgi Gakharia who said on November 23 that Georgia’s law enforcement agents “were dealing with an international terrorist organization” when carrying out the raid.

In the days since the operation the Prosecutor’s Office charged the surviving unidentified suspect that remains in custody with being a members of an international terrorist organization as well as having illegally purchased and possessed banned explosives and firearms.

According to some media reports, the surviving suspect was apprehended outside the apartment building, prior to the start of the firefight. His legal counsel told journalists that he is a Russian citizen, but denied all accusations that he was or has been a member of a terrorist cell.

Tbilisi Mayor to Donate Salary to Charity

(TBILISI) – Tbilisi City Hall’s press office said newly elected mayor, Kakha Kaladze, will donate his3,180 GEL ($1,200)monthly salary to charity.

"The Mayor’s salary will be donated to finance different social needs”, the press office said.

Before taking the mayoral position earlier this month, Kaladze served as energy minister where he also refused to accept a salary.

Kaladze, a retired football star, started his political career prior with the ruling Georgian Dream party in the 2012 parliamentary elections.

Kaladze served as vice prime minister and energy minister before successfully running for mayor in October, winning 51.1 percent of the vote in the process.

Before entering into politics, Kaladze had a successful, 20-year football career in Europe and with the Georgian Nation Team.