VIDEO - Two blasts, one set off by a suicide bomber, rocked Kizlyar in Russia's Dagestan region on Wednesday, killing at least 12 people just two days after twin bombs hit Moscow, officials told Reuters.
Russian Prime Minister said that a single group may have been behind bomb attacks this week in Moscow and Dagestan. "Yet another terrorist act has been committed. I do not rule out that it is one and the same gang acting," Putin said at a government meeting.
Investigators said a suicide bomber dressed in a police uniform set off the second of the blasts in Dagestan, which followed the two bombings in Moscow that killed 39 people and which authorities blamed on female suicide attackers with links to insurgents in the turbulent North Caucasus.
In Kizlyar, a police official said a car parked near a school in the centre of town blew up as a traffic police patrol was driving by, killing two police officers.
He said the second bomb was set off shortly after police and onlookers gathered at the scene.
The provincial police spokesman said Kizlyar police chief Vitaly Vedernikov was among the dead. At least six other police officers, an investigator and a civilian were killed, Russian news agencies cited police as saying.
Dagestan, a predominantly Muslim province adjacent to war-scarred Chechnya along Russia's southern border, is plagued by frequent attacks targeting police and government officials.
Bomb followed by another
Drawing police to the scene of an initial blast and then setting off another bomb is a common tactic used by militants in the North Caucasus.
Attacks linked to the insurgency that persists nearly a decade after the second post-Soviet separatist war in Chechnya had been limited mostly to the North Caucasus in recent years before the Monday bombings on Moscow's metro.
Agency reports said there were no children in the school in Kizlyar at the time of the explosions.
The deadliest attack in the Russian capital in six years fuelled fears of a broader offensive by rebels based in the North Caucasus and underscored the Kremlin's failure to keep militants in check.
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who led Moscow into a war against Chechen separatists in 1999 that sealed his rise to power, said on Tuesday that those behind the bombings must be scraped "from the bottom of the sewers" and exposed.
Moscow observed a day of mourning on Tuesday for the victims of the blasts, which authorities said were set off by female suicide bombers linked to the North Caucasus – a string of heavily Muslim provinces that includes Chechnya.