Two killed, 27 injured in Russia suicide blasts
At least two people were killed and 27 injured when twin suicide blasts tore through a village in Russia's restless North Caucasus, the police said Tuesday.
Monday evening's suicide strikes in Dagestan came less than a month after a massive bomb explosion at Moscow's main international airport in an attack claimed by the feared Islamist Doku Umarov.
One unconfirmed news report said the police suspected that a husband and wife who are wanted in connection with another recent Moscow explosion were involved in the two latest incidents in Dagestan.
The police said the bloodshed began when a woman wearing a suicide belt walked up to an interior ministry post and blew herself up in the mountain village of Gubden.
She had only managed to walk past the security gate before being stopped, with the subsequent blast killing one policemen and injuring four others, Russian news agencies quoted police sources as saying.
Two hours later a car exploded after driving up to a police checkpoint in the same village, killing another policeman.
News reports said that blast was followed by a fierce exchange of gunfire between local interior ministry soldiers and suspected guerrillas.
"At least 27 people have been hospitalised. Most of them are interior ministry troops," the RIA Novosti news agency quoted a police source as saying.
"Many of those hospitalised have undergone operations. We are continuing to update the toll."
At least one news report linked Russia's latest suicide bombing to a mysterious blast that blew up a guest house at a Moscow hunting club on New Year's Eve.
The police have arrested at least four suspects allegedly linked to that explosion but were still on the hunt for five others -- including the husband and wife who the lifenews.ru website said were suspected of being involved in Monday's attacks.
There was no official confirmation of the website report.
The twin suicide bombings marked some of the worst violence violence since a January 24 suicide strike on Moscow's Domodedovo airport killed 36 people and sent more than 100 others to hospital.
Umarov, an Islamist extremist, claimed responsibility for the airport bombing in video messages in which he also vowed to make 2011 "a year of blood and tears" for Russia.
Umarov and his well armed rebels are believed to be hiding in the forested mountains that cover Dagestan, neighbouring Chechnya and parts of Russia's other predominantly Muslim North Caucasus republics.
The Kremlin fought two wars against separatist rebels in Chechnya in the past 15 years. But the insurgency has since become more Islamist in tone and much of the violence has spread to neighbouring regions.
© 2011 AFP