Suicide bombers killed 12 people in double strikes targeting police in Russia’s turbulent North Caucasus, shaking the country just two days after attacks in Moscow left 39 dead.
Speaking on this issue, the Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said the latest attack in the North Caucasus region may be linked to the strikes on the Moscow metro by two female suicide bombers, as the authorities moved to prevent a resurgence of militant violence.
Nine police including a local police chief were among the dead in the double attack in the North Caucasus region of Dagestan, a region on the Caspian Sea already wracked by an Islamist insurgency.
Wednesday’s first blast was caused by a car occupied by a suicide bomber that blew up when police tried to stop it during a regular check in the town of Kizlyar in Dagestan, officials said.
The force of the first blast left a massive crater in the road and reduced surrounding cars to burned-out wrecks, television pictures showed.
After 20 minutes, another blast was triggered by a second suicide bomber wearing a police uniform who approached law enforcement officials working at the scene of the first blast, a spokeswoman for the Dagestani interior ministry told AFP.
The spokesman Nizami Radzhabov said the first blast was caused by explosives of 200 kilogrammes of TNT equivalent stuffed into a Niva jeep “in which there was a suicide bomber”, Interfax reported.
The investigative committee of Russian prosecutors said in a statement that 12 people were killed, nine of them police, and 23 were wounded.
The new attacks were the latest blow to Russian leaders who pledged after Monday’s Moscow metro blasts to hunt down and destroy the organisers of the suicide bombings who they said had links to North Caucasus militant groups. Muslim Dagestan has been one of the Caucasus regions most troubled by militant violence, along with Chechnya and Ingushetia.
As per the reports, militants had recruited 30 potential suicide bombers in recent months, with 21 still at large after nine already blew themselves up.
The Moscow female suicide bombers blew themselves up within 40 minutes of each other in the morning rush hour at stations in the centre of the city.
The latest explosions come as Russia buried the first two victims of Monday’s blasts, with an increased police presence tangible in the still tense capital.
Police were searching for a possible male accomplice who is reported to have accompanied the female bombers to Moscow and was photographed by surveillance cameras.
Russian police have also released grainy but grisly photographs to media showing the severed heads of the two bombers’ corpses.