1 dead, 60 wounded in Dagestan bombings

By the Associated Press | September 22, 2011 | 4:00 AM EDT

MAKHACHKALA, Russia (AP) — Two car bombs killed a Russian policeman and wounded 60 other people in the capital of the violence-plagued republic of Dagestan early Thursday, a spokesman for the interior ministry said.

Vyacheslav Gasanov said the first blast was equivalent to about three kilograms (seven pounds) of TNT. When police rushed to the scene of that explosion, a blast about 12 times more powerful went off, he said.

Of the 60 people injured in the blasts, 44 were police officers, Gasanov said.

Dagestan regularly sees attacks connected both to criminal gangs and to Islamic insurgents. The insurgency has its roots in neighboring Chechnya, where Russian troops fought two full-scale wars against rebels since 1994.

Although the insurgency in Chechnya has died down in recent years, Dagestan is hit by attacks or clashes between fighters and police almost daily. Insurgent activity has also spread to other republics of the predominantly Muslim Caucasus region.