Echoing Moscow Attack, Dagestan Bombings Underscore Russia's Terrorism Threat

Article excerpt

In Russia's restive republic of Dagestan, bombings killed 12 people and injured 23 just two days after the devastating Moscow attack.

Two suicide bombers, one disguised as a policeman, killed at least 12 people and injured 23 in attacks against Russian security forces in the turbulent southern republic of Dagestan Wednesday.

Bombings, murders, and gunfights between authorities and a rising extremist insurgency on Russia's seething southern flank have become so common in recent months that even Russian media might have scarcely noticed Wednesday's attacks, had it not been for a pair of devastating terrorists strikes in the Russian capital Moscow on Monday that killed 39 people and riveted the world's attention on Russia's growing terrorist problem.

"In the northern Caucasus, terrorist acts like this have been routine for the past several years," says Pavel Salin, an expert with the independent Institute of Political Conjuncture in Moscow.

IN PICTURES: Bombings in Russia

"It hasn't stopped for a moment, though it is growing worse," he says.

Target: security forces

The blasts in Kizlyar, near Dagestan's border with Chechnya, occurred when police gave chase to a suspicious car that was headed for the town center.

According to Russian Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev, the car detonated right near a police headquarters. "Traffic police followed the car and almost caught up - at that time the blast hit," Mr. Nurgaliyev said.

A second powerful explosion hit about 20 minutes later, after a crowd had gathered at the site of the first attack, killing several officers, including Kizlyar's police chief. …