03/31/2010, 00.00
RUSSIA
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Double bombing in Dagestan, nine dead

The victims were mostly policemen, including the head of local security forces. Targeted the headquarters of the Interior Ministry and the offices of the secret services. The second bomb triggered by a suicide bomber. Putin’s hardline. Benedict XVI sent a telegram of condolences to the victims of the bombings in Moscow. Yesterday the cathedral of the Holy Saviour was evacuated for fear of a bomb.

Moscow (AsiaNews / Agencies) – The death toll so far is of nine people killed by two explosions in Kizlyar, in Dagestan, the republic of Russia located in the North Caucasus. The Russian agency Interfax reports that one of the victims - mostly policemen - Vitaly Vedernikov, is head of local security forces. Meanwhile in Moscow investigations into the double attack on the capital's Metropolitan are continuing. The Pope yesterday sent a telegram of condolences to President Dimitry Medvedev.  

The first blast was caused by a car bomb explosion in Kizlyar, placed near the offices of the local Interior Ministry and FSB headquarters, the Russian secret service. The second occurred 20 minutes later, again in the same street. Government sources added that the second bomb was triggered by a suicide bomber, disguised as a policeman.    

Over the past two years the violence in Dagestan has increased, after a harsh crackdown against the Islamic fundamentalist militias in neighbouring Chechnya. In June 2009 the Minister of Interior of the region was killed in a shooting.  

 

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has vowed to punish the criminals. "We know that they [the organisers] are lying low, but it is now a matter of honour for the security forces to scrape them out from the bottom of the sewers and bring them out into the light of day”. His speech recalled his famous promises in 99 and his decision to strike the rebels in their " outhouse " which sparked a harsh action against Chechen militants.  

While the funerals of the victims are underway and flowers are being brought to Moscow stations where the attacks took place, Benedict XVI sent a telegram yesterday to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev expressing his "deep sorrow and condemnation of these terrible acts of violence." The pope also ensures "his solidarity, spiritual closeness and condolences to the bereaved families and prayer for the decimated lives”.    

The car bomb in Dagestan took place two days after the double terrorist attack in the Moscow metro, which left 39 dead. The two attacks were carried out by two women suicide bombers, but the police, through the Metro video surveillance have determined that they had accomplices. A Moscow radio said that the suspects were from Chechnya and were brought by a private bus to the subway.  

Yesterday afternoon, the Cathedral of St. Saviour in central Moscow, was evacuated, after a tip to police that a bomb had been placed inside. More than 100 people left barely holding back the panic. But it was a false alarm.  

 

Meanwhile, the Islamic cultural centre in Moscow has decided to open a hot line to gather information on the attacks and promised to pay up to one million rubles (about 25 thousand euros) for information that will be passed to the security services.
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