Russia names brother and sister as suicide bombers
MOSCOW - Agence France-Presse
A brother and sister are believed to have carried out dual suicide bombings in Russia's Dagestan that killed at least 13 people and injured more than a hundred, the regional president said Saturday.
"The names of the suicide bombers have been preliminarily established. They are the brother and sister Rizvan and Muslimat Aliyev," Magomedsalam Magomedov told the parliament, according to ITAR-TASS news agency, confirming reports.
"The special services who are investigating this case will give detailed information on the terrorists and their accomplices shortly," Magomedov was also quoted as saying by his press service.
Investigators were still in the process of identifying human remains at the scene of the two blasts as the region held a day of mourning for the victims on Saturday.
The Tvoi Den tabloid daily reported Thursday, ahead of the bombing, that Rizvan, 23, and his sister Muslimat, 19, had gone missing from their home in the regional capital of Makhachkala in March.
Citing sources in the security forces, it said that Islamist militants were suspected to be training the Aliyevs as suicide bombers to carry out attacks in central Russia over public holidays in May.
It published black-and-white photographs of Rizvan and Muslimat, a dark-haired woman with her hair pulled back in a pony tail, not wearing an Islamic headscarf.
A regional health official told AFP earlier that the authorities found one severed female foot and two male feet at the scene of the two blasts, suggesting that two suicide bombers were involved.
The first blast went off Thursday evening on the outskirts of Makhachkala when a car laden with explosives was detonated near a traffic police checkpoint at 10:10 pm (1810 GMT), causing no fatalities.
A second car bomb went off 15 minutes later, hitting policemen, rescue workers and passers-by who had gathered at the scene.
A representative of the regional health ministry told AFP that 13 people died on the spot and another died later in hospital, while Magomedov's press service on Saturday gave the total as 13 victims and 101 injured.
Fifteen of those injured were in a serious condition, the Russian health ministry said Saturday.
The FSB security service's national anti-terrorism committee said in a statement Friday that the first bomb was equivalent to around 10 kilogrammes (22 pounds) of TNT, while the second contained 50 kilogrammes. Both were packed with metal dowels to cause maximum injuries, it said.
The twin attacks appeared to bear the hallmarks of bombings conducted by radical militants fighting the Kremlin in the Caucasus, where they are seeking to establish an Islamist state.
The blasts were by far the deadliest attacks in the Caucasus this year and damage Kremlin hopes of restoring relative stability to a region that has been a headache for Moscow since the collapse of the USSR.
Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev ordered security to be stepped up as the country gears up for a national holiday to celebrate victory in World War II on May 9.
The Kremlin fought two post-Soviet wars against separatist rebels in Chechnya, but the insurgency has now become more Islamist in tone and has spread to neighbouring regions such as Ingushetia and Dagestan.