-- At least 14 children have been hurt in a stabbing incident at a school in the Siberian city of Perm. Russian police said the stabbings began after two boys at the city’s School No. 127 started fighting with knives.
According to police, a teacher and other pupils tried to break up the fight, after which the two students began attacking them.
Police said they have detained the two alleged attackers. One of them also suffered injuries and has been hospitalized, the TASS state news agency reported.
The local health ministry said of the 15 people hurt, 12 had been hospitalized, among them the teacher, who suffered severe injuries. Doctors at the hospital where the victims were being treated told the Russian news agency Interfax that two children were in a serious but stable condition in intensive care after an operation. Seven others were being treated for less severe injuries.
Dmitry Antonov, the chief doctor at the hospital, the Perm Territory Children's Clinic, told Interfax that none the children's lives were now in danger.
Early accounts of the incident itself were confused, with some media reporting that the students had been wearing masks and suggesting it might have been a premeditated attack. A statement released by the regional branch of Russia's Investigative Committee, which handles serious crimes, however, made no mention of that.
Local news sites reported the injured children were in fourth grade, in which students would typically be 9 or 10 years old. Several Russian news agencies quoted an account that the two students had begun fighting in the hallway before bursting into the classroom, where the teacher tried to separate them.
Witnesses told the state news agency RIA Novosti that children came running out of the school, some covered in blood and calling for help.
Some of the children ran into a local shopping mall, where workers called the police.
“They explained, talking over each other, that there had been an attack on them at school,” an unnamed representative of the "Whale" mall told RIA Novosti.
"The shopping mall’s workers immediately pressed the alarm button and called security and called all the emergency services. The paramedics arrived very quickly, practically in 10 minutes," the representative said.
The newspaper Kommersant reported that one of the boys was a former pupil at the school, now studying at a college in Perm.
Russia's Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has ordered Russia's Education Minister Olga Vasilyeva to fly to the city to assist in establishing the reasons for the incident, RIA Novosti reported.