Two policemen were killed and more than 30 people were injured Tuesday in two separate terrorist attacks in Russia’s Caucasus region, Russian news agencies reported.
A car bomb with an estimated 30 kilograms of TNT exploded injuring 30 people in the city of Pyatigorsk, two of whom were in critical condition, the local health ministry told the Interfax news agency.
Earlier in the day, two policemen were killed and three others injured when a suicide bomber blew himself up at a police checkpoint on the border between the republics of Ingushetia and North Ossetia.
The Kremlin condemned the attack in Pyatigorsk, which since January has been the administrative centre of Russia’s federal North Caucasus district, which includes Chechnya, Dagestan, Ingushetia, and North Ossetia.
President Dmitry Medvedev ordered the intelligence service to take all necessary steps to investigate the bombing.
The bomb was detonated outside a cafe. Authorities had initially assumed it was a gas explosion, but later established that a car parked outside the cafe had been loaded with explosives.
Pyatigorsk is located near the city of Stavropol, where six people were killed in May by a bomb at the Culture and Sports Palace.
The Stavropol region, which has a mainly ethnic Russian population is not considered to be part of the conflict area in the North Caucasus, which has been centred around the republics of Chechnya, Dagestan and Ingushetia.
But Islamist extremists in the conflict regions have repeatedly threatened to expand their fight for an independent “Caucasus Emirate” to other parts of Russia.