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Bombs kill 4 in Russia’s restive Dagestan

Courthouse site of blast; about 35 are hospitalized

A video image showed a police officer helping a woman near a blast site in Makhachkala on Monday.

Achmed Achmedov/AFP

A video image showed a police officer helping a woman near a blast site in Makhachkala on Monday.

MAKHACHKALA, Russia — Two bombs exploded outside a court building in Russia’s restive province of Dagestan on Monday, killing at least four people and wounding dozens of others, officials said.

The first bomb exploded in a parked car and the second went off in a trash bin about 15 minutes later after police had arrived on the scene in Makhachakala, the provincial capital, according to Interior Ministry spokesman Vyacheslav Gasanov.

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He said the second blast, which was much more powerful, caused all the casualties and many of those killed and wounded were police. The federal Health Ministry in Moscow said 35 people were hospitalized.

Investigators said it appeared that both explosions were set off by remote control.

Deadly attacks on police and other officials occur almost daily in the province. Two separatist wars in Chechnya killed tens of thousands of people and spawned an Islamic insurgency that has engulfed the entire region, particularly neighboring Dagestan.

About 350 people, of which two-thirds were militants and one-third police officers, were killed in the fighting in 2012, according to the Caucasian Knot website. Summer is considered the most active season for the fighting.

FBI agents visited the region in May as part of the investigation into the two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who had lived in Makhachkala before immigrating to the United States.

The elder brother, Tamerlan, visited Dagestan and neighboring Chechnya for six months in 2012 and spoke about his intentions to join the rebels there before returning to the United States in July.

In a separate security matter Monday, Russia’s counterterrorism agency said its special forces killed two militants and detained a third believed to have been planning a terrorist act in Moscow.

A spokesman for the National Anti-Terrorist Committee, known as NAK, said on state television that the militants were Russian citizens who had received training along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. They were not identified.

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