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19 Feb, 2010 08:38

Series of blasts rock southern Russia

Two people have been killed and 35 others injured as a result of a series of blasts in the capital of the Southern Russian Republic of Ingushetia.

The explosive devices went off in an abandoned house in the town of Nazran when it was being searched by a large group of policemen.

The officers had received a tip-off that a group of suspected militants might have a hideout in the building.

A representative of the Investigative Committee in Ingushetia said that at least three bombs exploded there.

Thirty-five people were hospitalized with wounds of varying severity, including the local Interior Affairs department chief.

Several are in critical condition. Twenty two of the victims are police officers.

“President of Ingushetia [Yunus-Bek] Yevkurov has ordered a special unit to be set up to investigate this. As head of the Ingush government I am heading it. Experts from Ingushetia’s Federal Security Service, the Emergencies Ministry, and medical specialists are working at the site,” said Aleksey Vorobyov, Head of the government of the Republic of Ingushetia.

No one has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.

Russia is battling militants in the region, which has seen several attacks in the last few months.

Last week, 18 insurgents were killed in a special operation. It is thought the police were targeted in response to the ongoing anti-terror operations in the region.