'Terror act' kills four in Russia's Dagestan: official

27th January 2011, Comments 0 comments

Four people were killed and six wounded in a massive car bomb explosion outside a cafe in the Russian region of Dagestan described by investigators as an act of terror, officials said on Thursday.

The attack is the deadliest to hit the Northern Caucasus region since Monday's suicide bombing on a Moscow airport that killed 35 and was blamed on militants from the overwhelmingly Muslim area.

The blast took place at just after 10:00 pm (1900 GMT) Wednesday outside the Karavan cafe on the outskirts of the town of Khasavyurt in the North Caucasus region of Dagestan.

"Four people were killed, all of them civilians," a local interior ministry spokesman told the RIA Novosti news agency. Six people were wounded, three of whom were hospitalised.

A criminal investigation has been opened into an "act of terror and illegal use of explosives," the Interfax news agency said, quoting the local branch of the investigative committee.

Investigators believe that some 30 kilogrammes (66 pounds) of TNT equivalent explosives were used in the blast, RIA Novosti and Interfax said.

The car parked outside the cafe in which the bomb was placed was already the target of a search by the authorities.

Attacks by Islamist militants have claimed hundreds of lives in the Northern Caucasus over the last years as rebels wage an insurgency against the authorities with the aim of imposing an Islamic state in the region.

The Kremlin fought two wars against separatist rebels in Chechnya in the 1990s but the insurgency has now become more Islamist in tone and has spread to neighbouring Ingushetia and Dagestan.

© 2011 AFP

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