At least 16 people died and over a hundred were wounded in a car bomb attack in Russia's violence-torn North Caucasus region.

A suicide bomber blew up a car packed with about 40 kg of explosives and a gas cylinder near the Central Market in Vladikavkaz, capital of North Ossetia, shortly before noon on Thursday.

The explosives were stuffed with nuts and bolts to cause more casualties. Fifteen people were killed on the spot and an 18-month-old baby died in hospital. Out of 114 wounded, 15 people were in critical condition, hospital officials said.

The popular Central Market in Vladikavkaz has been bombed several times in the past; the deadliest attack was in 1999 and claimed 55 lives. The latest bombing came four days after another suicide bomber rammed his car into a truck in a military field camp near Buinaksk in Dagestan, killing three and wounding more than 30 servicemen.

In another incident on Thursday, a hotel employee and another civilian were shot to death by militants who were fleeing a hotel after a self-made bomb exploded in their room. Police found several other bombs and grenades in the room.

South Ossetia was the scene of Russia's bloodiest terror attack in 2004, when Chechen militants took over 1,000 children and teachers hostage in a school in Beslan. The siege ended in a bloodbath killing more than 330 people, about half of them children.

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