MOSCOW — Double suicide bombings struck the strife-ridden Russian republic of Dagestan on Wednesday, killing 12 people and injuring dozens.
The attacks came as a violent echo of Monday's bombings aboard Moscow's subway system, which left 39 dead and stirred fears that volatility in Russia's mostly Muslim Caucasus region is again seeping into the rest of the country.
Doku Umarov, who leads Islamic militants in Chechnya and other regions in Russia's North Caucasus, said in a video posted on a pro-rebel Web site that Monday's attacks were revenge for the killing of civilians by Russian security forces. Umarov pledged to continue attacks on Russian cities.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin again lashed out at militant groups and called for reinforcement of police ranks in the North Caucasus. "I don't rule out that the same terrorists were involved," Putin told a government presidium in Moscow. "We see this as a crime against Russia."
Wednesday morning's first bombing struck on Lenin Road in Kizlyar, the capital of Dagestan, which borders Chechnya. The driver of a Russian-made off-road vehicle ignored the commands of a police patrol to pull over, the Russian Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev said. As the police sped closer to the explosives-packed car, the suicide bomber blew it up.
Once medical teams and additional law enforcement officers had rushed to the scene, a man in a police uniform walked into a group of police near an ambulance and blew himself up. At least seven police officers died, including the district police chief.