In yet another Islam-inspired terror attack on Russia, Muslim suicide bombers killed attacked a police post on the outskirts of the capital of Russia’s Dagestan region, known for its large Muslim infestation.
MSNBC The attacks outside Makhachkala late Thursday were the deadliest in months, undermining efforts by Russian security forces to contain an Islamist insurgency in the North Caucasus region near Sochi, where Russia will host the Winter Olympics in 2014.
More than a decade after federal troops toppled an Islamist government in Chechnya, also in the North Caucasus, security forces are fighting militants whose ranks are swollen by anger at poverty, clan feuds and pervasive corruption.
The first suicide bomber detonated a bomb when police stopped a vehicle to check documents. The second explosion came when fire brigades and ambulances arrived, causing additional casualties. A witness at the scene said a fire truck was reduced to charred wreckage.
“After the blast, only the wheels of the truck remained whole,” the witness told reporters. “Fragments of human bodies are scattered at the post,” Russia’s Interfax news agency quoted a law enforcement official as saying. Local investigators said they had found the remains of a man and a woman suspected of being the suicide bombers.
The attacks fell just three days before Vladimir Putin, who sent troops 12 years ago to crush rebellion in Chechnya, is to be sworn in as president. An unofficial Islamist website, kavkazcenter.com, said the police post was almost completely destroyed. A nearby gas pipeline also was damaged during the attack, RIA news agency reported.
Dagestan faces near daily shootings and bombings blamed on Islamist rebels. It has become the epicenter of violence in the low-level insurgency across the mainly Muslim North Caucasus following two separatist wars in Chechnya.
The insurgents want to create an Islamic state in the region. They have said they were behind a suicide bombing at Moscow’s Domodedovo airport that killed 37 people in January 2011 and twin bombings that killed 40 people on Moscow’s metro in 2010.