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Car bomb explosion kills 4, injures 46 in Dagestan, southern Russia

Double car bomb explosion killed four and injured at least 46 as blasts struck outside the headquarters of the court bailiffs' service in the capital of Russia’s Dagestan Republic, Makhachkala.

The first car with the explosive placed underneath reportedly went off causing no fatalities or injuries. Once law enforcement arrived at the scene, the second bomb detonated, Interfax reported citing the local Investigative Committee.

“As far as I know there are three people dead. One of them is our employee,” spokesperson of the Court Bailiffs' Service Magomed Buttaev told RT.

The death toll rose to four people after another man, an employee of the court bailiffs' service, died of his injuries in hospital, according an Interior Ministry spokesman.

Initial reports suggested eight people died at the scene, Interfax news agency reported.

At the site where bombs exploded near the bailiff service building in Makhachkala on May 20, 2013. (RIA Novosti)

“Two cars were detonated within several minutes. At least eight people have been killed, while the number of injured is being clarified. More than 20 cars have been damaged,” the agency quoted the representative of Dagestan’s Investigative Committee.   

However, the chief physician in Dagestan, Kazanfar Kurbanov, has later confirmed that three people died and 24 were injured. 

“There have been 46 people hospitalized,” Interfax reported citing its source.

As said, the blasts occurred approximately 15 minutes apart from each other with the two bombs were detonated remotely.  

Interfax quotes a source who said that an explosive was also found in a trash can.

“It has already been established that the first explosive was placed under the car,” one of the spokesman told media.

The force of the second blast was the equivalent of up to 50 kg of TNT, Rasul Temirbekov from the local Investigative committee told ITAR-TASS, adding that the first blast was less powerful, nearly causing damage to nearby parked cars.

Law enforcement officers working at the site where bombs exploded near the bailiff service building in Makhachkala on May 20, 2013. (RIA Novosti / Arsen Abdullayev)

According to law enforcement officials, perpetrators clearly used a tactic which is quite common in Dagestan, when the first blast is bait to attract more people and the second explosion goes off when people are at the scene, thus injuring and killing law enforcement members.

“The majority of injured are police officers who arrived at the scene after the first blast. There are at least 15 of them now,” ITAR-TASS quotes the local Interior Ministry.

Russia’s Emergencies Ministry has sent doctors and psychologists from Moscow to Makhachkala. The IL-76 jet will deliver 26 specialists to Dagestan, and then return with victims of the blast to Moscow hospitals if needed.

No one has claimed responsibility for the double blast, with no suspects yet identified. Investigators have said they will use the registration plates of one of the vehicles involved, in a bid to track down the culprits.

“We plan to ID the owner of the exploded car and unravel the case trough this information,” an investigative committee spokesperson said. There's a belief that the car was stolen.

In a recent incident near a shopping center on May 1, two teenagers were killed and another two injured as they tried to uncover the dangerous object, wrapped up either in a box or a bag.