2 policemen killed in latest Russian suicide bombing

* Suicide bomber strikes Ingushetia police station
* Legislation proposed to bar media from reporting terrorists’ statements

KARABULAK: A suicide bomber killed two policemen in Russia’s Ingushetia region on Monday, the latest in a spate of attacks that underscore the threat from an Islamist insurgency on Russia’s southern flank.

More than 50 people have been killed and 100 injured by suicide bombers over the past week in the Moscow metro and the mainly Muslim regions of Dagestan and Ingushetia, which flank Chechnya in Russia’s restive North Caucasus. Monday’s bombing in Ingushetia came exactly a week after twin suicide attacks in the Moscow metro raised concerns of a new wave of strikes by militants from the North Caucasus against major Russian cities.

In the latest attack, a male suicide bomber, aged about 30, tried to enter police headquarters in the town of Karabulak, about 20 km from the Ingush regional capital of Magas, local and federal police told Reuters. “A suicide bomber tried to get into the police headquarters during roll call, but after being stopped the bomber detonated the explosives,” Oleg Yelnikov, a spokesman for Russia’s Interior Ministry in Moscow, said
by telephone.

Two police were killed, the federal Prosecutor General’s Office said. About 45 minutes later, explosives in a car parked across the street from police headquarters were detonated by remote control, causing a powerful blast that injured Karabulak’s top prosecutor and three police officers, it said.

A Reuters cameraman at the scene said several cars were burning outside the police station and remains of the suspected suicide bomber were lying among rubble on the street. Part of a severed head, face intact, lay on the roof of an outbuilding. Russia is on edge after the attacks in the Moscow metro killed at least 40 last Monday, twin suicide bombing in Dagestan killed another 12 people on Wednesday.

Insurgent leader Doku Umarov, a Chechen who is Russia’s most wanted guerrilla and calls himself the “Emir of the Caucasus Emirate”, has vowed more attacks on Russian cities outside the Caucasus.

Censorship: The responsibility claim went unreported by most mainstream Russian media outlets. But a lawmaker from Putin’s dominant party said on Monday he has proposed legislation that would bar media from reporting statements by suspected terrorists.

Analysts say the persistent bloodshed goes largely unmentioned by the Kremlin and unnoticed by citizens elsewhere in Russia until it spills over beyond the North Caucasus. Bombings “mostly occur close to the Caucasus, where it is easier for the militants to operate. But only terrorist acts that have taken place in Moscow have had resonance,” commentator Yulia Latynina said on Ekho Moskvy radio on Saturday. Analysts say the attacks underline the failure of the Kremlin’s policies in the area, which is made up of a patchwork of ethnic groups that was conquered by the Russian Tsars in the 19th century following decades of resistance. Locals say the heavy-handed measures of law enforcement agencies, rampant corruption, clan rivalries and desperate poverty are pushing recruits towards the Islamist rebels, who Russia says get support from abroad.


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