12 dead in s. Russia explosions

Two bombs hit Caucasus; Monday attacks kill 39 in Moscow, blamed on Caucasus rebels.

March 31, 2010 09:36
2 minute read.
Emergency Ministry officers and firefighters carry

Moscow subway blasts 311. (photo credit: Associated Press)


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Russian officials said two suicide bombings in the southern province of Dagestan have killed at least twelve people, including two policemen.

In Wednesday's attacks, a suicide bomber detonated explosives in the town of Kizlyar near Dagestan's border with Chechnya, when police tried to stop the bomber's car, Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev said in televised comments.

"Traffic police followed the car and almost caught up — at that time the blast hit," Nurgaliyev said. He said the deadly cargo was headed for the center of Kizlyar. There was a school and law enforcement building nearby.

As investigators and residents gathered at the scene of the blast, a second bomber wearing a police uniform approached and set off explosives, killing the town's police chief among others, Nurgaliyev said.

Vladimir Putin vowed Tuesday to “drag out of the sewer” the masterminds of a twin suicide bombing of the Moscow subway system that killed 39 people and left scores wounded.

Related article:
Analysis: Chechen footprints on the Moscow underground.

Rebels from the North Caucasus, which includes Dagestan and Chechnya, were blamed for masterminding the Moscow attack, but no claims of responsibility have been made.

The blasts shocked a country that had grown accustomed to such violence being confined to a restive southern corner – and marked the return of terrorism to the everyday lives of Muscovites after a six-year break.

As president, Putin consolidated control in the wake of the 2004 Beslan school hostage crisis by abolishing the election of regional governors, and came to power in 1999 promising a strong crackdown on rebels in Russia’s North Caucasus.

Putin said on television Tuesday that he is sure the organizers of Monday’s attacks by two women will be found.

Many have speculated that the blasts – blamed on Muslim extremists in the Caucasus region, which includes Chechnya – were retaliation for the recent killing of separatist leaders in the area by Russian police. No claims of responsibility have been made.

Moscow remained on edge Tuesday, even as people began to commute on the subway again.

The female suicide bombers detonated belts of explosives during the morning rush-hour at the stations, investigators said.

Five people remained in critical condition out of 71 hospitalized after the blasts, city health department official Andrei Seltsovsky told the Rossiya-24 state news channel. Emergency officials said later Tuesday that five bodies remained unidentified.

Heightened transportation security remained in effect across the capital and elsewhere. Police with machine guns and sniffer dogs patrolled subway entrances.

The last confirmed terrorist attack in Moscow was in August 2004, when a suicide bomber blew herself up outside a subway station, killing 10 people. Chechen rebels claimed responsibility.

Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.   

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