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Updated: April 1, 2010 01:21 IST

11 killed in Dagestan blasts

Vladimir Radyuhin
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A second twin suicide bombing in Russia in three days killed 11 people, including nine policemen in North Caucasus on Wednesday.

A car bomb went off in the centre of Kyzlyar, in the Russian republic of Dagestan when traffic police stopped the car for a check. The blast, equivalent to about 200 kg of TNT, killed two policemen and a woman on the sidewalk. It also partially destroyed a school building. Fortunately, there were no children inside as March 31 was the last day of spring school holidays.

Half an hour later a suicide bomber dressed in police uniform blew himself up in the midst of police officers gathered on the site of the first explosion. The second blast killed eight people, including the town police chief.

Dagestan, a predominantly Muslim region of 2.6 million people bordering Chechnya, has been a focal point of low intensity insurgency that has engulfed entire North Caucasus in recent years.

The Kyzlyar bombing came on the heels of a dual attack on the Moscow Metro on Monday that killed 39 and wounded over 70 people. Similar tactics used in both attacks — suicide bombers detonating explosives within less than an hour of each other — prompted Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to suggest that they could have been directed from a single centre.

“I don't rule out that the same bandits are behind both attacks,” Mr. Putin told a cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

Russian authorities blamed the attacks on Islamist militants operating in North Caucasus even as nobody has yet claimed responsibility. The attacks have raised fears that Russia is facing a new wave of terror. A Chechen rebel leader, Said Buryatsky, killed earlier this month, is believed to have trained a “martyrs' brigade” of 30 suicide bombers. Counting Wednesday's attacks, 19 “martyrs” are still alive.

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