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Gunman kills two at CIA centre

McLEAN, VIRGINIA (AFP) - A man opened fire with a rifle outside the main gate of the Central Intelligence Agency headquarters near Washington yesterday, killing two people and wounding at least three more.

One witness described the gunman as in his twenties, carrying a hunting rifle. Another witness said the man was firing an automatic weapon. The two people who died were in cars outside the CIA compound while the three wounded were either at the gate or in the agency's visitors' centre.

Barry Burka, who saw the shooting outside the gate, said a man with a hunting rifle fired at the windscreens of cars that had stopped at a junction. Another witness, Gilbert Robinson, said he kept his eyes focused on the gun, which appeared to be an automatic weapon, fearing 'it was going to be pointed in my direction'.

It was not immediately known if the shooting was related to the CIA. Agency officials were not available for comment.

The main gates at the CIA compound are left open during the morning and afternoon as employees arrive and leave work. There are always armed guards on duty at the entrance. About 15,000 people work inside the agency's headquarters.