Eight dead in Russia Caucasus bomb blast
Eight people died in a car bombing in Russia's violent Caucasus region on Wednesday, as government forces made more security sweeps against suspected insurgents, DPA reported.
The attack took place in the mountain village Khadzhalmakhi, some 1,600 kilometres south of Moscow in the predominantly Muslim province Dagestan.
The blast killed one policeman and seven civilians walking by the automobile, and injured four more police officers who were hospitalised, the Interfax news agency reported.
The violence came as army troops in the neigbouring territory Ingushetia raided homes to arrest four suspected insurgents and to capture two "powerful" explosive devices concealed there, a military spokesman said.
Fighting in Russia's Caucasus provinces intensified in September with the Kremlin kicking off an anti-insurgency offensive with dozens of house raids and sweeps of terrain thought to contain rebels, and insurgent counter-attacking with bombing and road ambushes of pro-Russia officials.
Russia's Interior Ministry on Wednesday announced pro-government forces during the week September 17 to September 23 had killed 10 suspected insurgents, among them two rebel band leaders.
At least twelve "extremist or bandit" groups are operating in Russia's North Caucasus territories, the statement said, according to the RIA Novosti news agency.
Police have blamed rebels for, among other violence, the September 19 murder of a senior Russian national intelligence agency officer, and the September 22 bombing of a police station, which killed one and injured 61.