Two people were killed and a third was critically wounded Thursday morning in the third suicide bombing attack in less than a week in the southern Russian republic of Dagestan, located in the northern Caucasus, close to Chechnya.
A report by the Russian news agency Interfax quoted Russian police as saying the blast, which resulted from a car bomb, came in the wake of an apparent terrorist "work accident" in the western section of Dagestan.
At least 12 were killed and 26 others were wounded a day earlier in a double bombing by the Islamic Chechen terrorists in the same region. Among the dead were seven police officers and the local police chief.
Wednesday's attack struck the town of Kizlyar, about 1,000 miles south of Moscow, where an attack two days earlier by a pair of “black widows” – female suicide bombers – had struck the city's metro, killing 39 people.
The double bombing was carried out by two men, one who blew himself up in his jeep after a police officer told him to pull over for violating a traffic regulation. His accomplice, disguised as a police officer, carried out a secondary attack following the initial explosion. Once a crowd had rushed to the scene to rescue the victims, the second terrorist arrived dressed as a senior police lieutenant and detonated the explosives. The attack occurred near a day care center, empty at the time, and a police station.
The strategy is a familiar one to security personnel in Israel, who are always careful to keep crowds as far away as possible from the site of a terror attack or a suspicious package. Palestinian Authority terrorists routinely attempt to follow up initial attacks with secondary explosions.
'We Have to Face Reality'
Meanwhile, Russian Interior Minister Rashid Murgaliyev ordered stepped-up security across the republic of Dagestan. “The terrorists are looking for any target,” he said. “We need to pay attention to fundamental everyday objects such as cinemas, schools, colleges and universities.” Russia's response to terrorism would be “harsh and unforgiving,” he added.
Russian security officials are concerned that another Islamic wave of terror has begun across the country. Chechen terror leader Doku Umarov, known as the “emir of Northern Caucasus,” threatened in February to attack “the Russian heartland.” He followed up the statement last month with a vow to “liberate” the regions of Krasnodar, Astrakhan and Volga.
Late Tuesday evening, a bomb scare in the heart of the capital caused security officers to block off a street close to the headquarters of the Federal Security Service (FSB), next to the Lubyanka metro station. As in Israel, a robot sapper was sent in to defuse the suspected car bomb. Early Wednesday morning, sappers were once again on the job, after police officers discovered a suspicious object under one of their vehicles: two bottles taped together with batteries. The “bomb” turned out to be a fake, filled only with urine.
The former Russian director of Interpol, Major-General Vladimir Ovchinsky, warned Thursday in an interview with the German magazine Der Spiegel, “We have to face reality. We have to understand that the terrorists' war against Russia never truly ended.”