Twin blasts in Russia kill policeman, injure scores
Twin explosions killed a police officer and injured dozens of others as well as civilians in Russia's southern city of Makhachkala, officials said Thursday.
The explosions within metres (yards) of each other rocked the capital of the North Caucasus region of Dagestan after midnight and went off about 500 metres from the offices of Dagestan's interior ministry, a representative of Makhachkala police told AFP.
"A police lieutenant died, and about 60 people went to the hospital," he said.
"The first blast was to attract attention, and the second was directed (at people) as the area was being closed off," he added.
The second bomb was planted in a car and the blast was equivalent to about 35 kilogrammes (80 pounds) of TNT, he said.
The latest blasts followed an explosion in the same city late Wednesday when three people were killed in a car while apparently transporting a bomb, wounding several bystanders.
In another region of Dagestan, several people assaulted a local police chief in the town of Buinaksk Thursday morning, killing his two bodyguards.
"They stopped his car as he was going to work and opened fire from machine guns," a police representative in Buinaksk, which lies about 30 kilometres southwest of Makhachkala, told AFP. The chief, a police colonel, was unharmed.
The Caspian Sea region of Dagestan experiences almost daily shootings and bombings that officials blame on local criminals and Islamists with links to Chechnya.
The Kremlin fought two wars against separatist rebels in Chechnya in the 1990s, and the violence has since spread into the nearby regions of Dagestan and Ingushetia.
© 2011 AFP