2 suicide blasts hit southern Russia, killing at least 9 people

By Arsen Mollayev, AP
Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Suicide blasts in southern Russia kill 9

MAKHACHKALA, Russia — Two suicide bombers including one impersonating a police officer killed at least nine people and injured 18 others in the southern Russian province of Dagestan on Wednesday, officials said.

The blasts in the North Caucasus region came two days after a twin suicide bombing tore through the Moscow subway, killing 39 and wounding scores.

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. He said two policemen and one investigator were among the dead.

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. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin vowed late Tuesday to drag the organizers “out of the sewer.”

Putin told Russians that he is certain the masterminds of the subway attacks would be found.

Monday’s subway bombings, carried out by two women, were the first terrorist attacks in Moscow in six years. They have shaken a city that has been insulated from the violence still raging in the restive southern corner of the country.

The first blast struck the Lubyanka station in central Moscow, beneath the headquarters of the Federal Security Service or FSB, the KGB’s main successor agency. The FSB is a symbol of power under Putin, a former KGB officer who headed the agency before his election as president in 2000.

About 45 minutes later, a second blast hit the Park Kultury station on the same subway line, which is near the renowned Gorky Park. In both cases, the bombs were detonated as the trains pulled into the stations and the doors were opening.

The last confirmed terrorist attack in Moscow was in August 2004.

Associated Press writers David Nowak in Moscow and Sergei Venyavsky in Rostov-on-Don contributed to this report.

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