Suicide bomber in southern Russia kills at least five policemen

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Friday, January 8, 2010

A suicide bombing in Russia's southern Dagestan republic killed six policemen and wounded at least sixteen other people on Wednesday, according to reports.

Authorities said that a suicide bomber attempted to drive an SUV packed with explosives into a police station near Dagestan's capital, Makhachkala. A police team, however, drove into the van, preventing it from reaching its target.

"He [the bomber] was stopped by a special operations group at the last minute. The measures taken by these policemen stopped the terrorist from reaching the site where other police officers prepared for duty." said an unnamed spokesman to the Interfax news agency.

Russian media report the blast left a two-meter wide crater, and that bomb fragments broke windows as far as 300 meters from the site. Investigators at the scene believed that the bomber's car had been carrying artillery shells as strong as 200 pounds of TNT.

Dagestan borders Chechnya, where the long-running fight between Russian troops and Islamic separatists has spilled over into neighboring republics in the North Caucasus.