Suicide attack kills 3, dozens injured
At least three servicemen were killed and dozens injured in a suicide bombing attack on a temporary camp near a shooting range in the Russian Republic of Dagestan, according to RIA Novosti news agency.
The attacker, driving a Lada car, attempted to break through guards into the entrance of the facility. Guards fired several warning shots, and then shot to kill. The car lost control and crashed into a military truck that was barricading direct access into the camp and exploded.
“[On September 5], at approximately 00:30, a suicide bomber broke through security to the 136th Motorized Rifle Battalion with a car and exploded,” a spokesperson for the Defense Ministry was quoted as saying by Itar-Tass.
A second explosion occurred when police approached the scene of the first attack. However, the time delay on the bomb failed while police were driving past and no one was hurt.
All injured servicemen have been brought to the branch of the military hospital in Buinaksk. Most of them were wounded by the shrapnel bomb was stuffed with. Five of them are in serious condition. Intensive care wards are ready at Rostov-on-Don’s military hospital to receive those wounded the worst if necessary.
The estimated power of the bomb was equal to 50-to-100 kilograms of TNT, RIA Novosti reports.
Remains of the suicide attacker, as well as parts of the car engine and the license plate, were found on the scene, Interfax reports.
“The identity of the attacker can be established by the remains, and the process is underway,” one of the investigators was quoted as saying.
The second bomb did not fully explode, the spokesperson added.
“It was wired with screws, nuts and other destructive metal elements,” he said. “Due to a lucky accident, it was not fully activated, and it saved the policemen.”
A special Defense Ministry commission has arrived to Dagestan from Moscow headed by Commander in Chief of the North Caucasus Military District Aleksandr Galkin.
Defense Minister Anatoly Serdukov has ordered that security be stepped up at all military facilities there, following the twin attack in the Republic of Dagestan.
“The tide has been turning recently. Law enforcement bodies have been carrying out successful anti-terror operations, a lot of militants and their leaders have been eliminated,” said Magomedsalam Magomedov, the President of the Republic of Dagestan.
“But we have to admit that they still retain some of their strength and are capable of responding to our efforts with such bold attacks, but I am sure that the situation will change as the future holds nothing for them,” he added.
Aleksey Kuznetsov, a spokesman for Russia's Defense Ministry, said there could have been more victims.
“After warning fire, the servicemen shot at the suicide bomber's car, which was packed with explosives. He lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a military car, which blocked the entrance to the base. The car exploded some way away from where most of the troops had gathered.”
It is the second blast in the region in the last 24 hours.
The new attacks come just hours after a murder attempt on a high-ranking official in the republic's capital of Makhachkala.
A device hidden in the minister's car exploded, killing the driver and injuring three passengers as they drove through the city.
There is a strong militant presence in Dagestan and neighboring republics of Ingushetia and Kabardino-Balkaria, even in the safest region of the Chechen Republic there has been a recent attack on the Chechen president’s home village.
One of Russia's leading experts on the Middle East and terrorism, Vyacheslav Matuzov, says that the militant groups in the North Caucasus are not pursuing separatist aims, and now operate as part of an international terror network.
“I want to draw your attention to the fact that nowadays, terrorists are not putting forward any political demands,” he told RT. “Therefore, they can not be viewed as seeking separation from the Russian Federation.”
“On the whole, there are no such political forces in the region,” Matuzov added. “That's why the Russian government refers to their activity as terrorist, not secessionist. These acts of terror are committed against local officials and police, as well as security forces. I also want to call your attention to the fact that without cash coming from abroad, the militant network in the North Caucasus would simply not be able to survive. Their heyday is long over. Those who provide financial support for terrorists seek to demonstrate to the world that bombs go off not only in Iraq and Afghanistan, but in Russia, too. They seek to destabilize the broader Middle East.”
RT’s North Caucasus correspondent Naida Azizova said that while there's been some improvement in the security situation, the terrorist underground is still very much operational.
“The situation has changed,” she said. “For instance, you have the Chechen republic, which used to be a no-go area for some 5 years ago, but is now by far the safest place in the whole region. But on the other hand, you have strong militants underground operating in the surrounding republics of Dagestan, Ingushetia and Kabardino-Balkaria, and there are internal and external reasons for that.”