WATCH: Police patrol outside badly damaged buildings in Grozny, the capital of Chechnya, after a suicide attack late on August 30 killed at least nine people.
Police say three suicide bombers are suspected of being behind a deadly attack in Grozny, the capital of Russia’s restive southern republic of Chechnya.
Russian Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev said the number of people killed in the attack had reached nine. Earlier, police said 22 people were injured.
The attack late on August 30 near the parliament compound was one of the deadliest in recent years in Grozny. It took place during celebrations marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Officials said one bomber blew himself up when a police patrol tried to detain him. Two others set off their explosives when police and bystanders gathered at the scene.
The dead reportedly include seven police officers and one emergency-services worker.
Chechnya’s Moscow-backed leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, described the bombers as “trained and zombified bandits” who have “blackened the most sacred day for all Muslims.”
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the explosions, but Kadyrov blamed the blasts on fighters of Doku Umarov — the Chechen rebel warlord who has been linked to other recent deadly attacks on Russia.
“It is Doku Umarov’s group that is behind [these attacks],” Kadyrov said. “Our task now is to find them. Once again they have shown that they are not human, they are not Muslims, and that human life means nothing to them.”
Russia’s Most Wanted Man
Umarov, the self-styled “emir of the Caucasus Emirate” and Russia’s most wanted man, leads an insurgency aimed at carving out an independent Islamic state across the region.
He also has said he was responsible for the March 2010 suicide bombings on Moscow’s subway system, which killed 39 people. Russian authorities also blame Umarov for ordering the November 2009 bombing of a train from Moscow to St. Petersburg that killed 26 people.
Kadyrov called an emergency government meeting after the attacks on August 30.
The Kremlin has been fighting insurgents in the North Caucasus since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, waging a war from 1994 to 1996 against separatist rebels in Chechnya.
After a second war in Chechnya in 1999, the rebellion’s inspiration moved toward Islam with the aim of imposing an Islamic state in the region.
Although the second war ended in 2000, rebels have waged an increasingly deadly insurgency. A decade later, the unrest has spread into other areas of the North Caucasus.
Last October, the Chechen parliament was attacked by a small group of militants who killed three people before being killed or blowing themselves up.
In August 2010, militants also carried out a large-scale attack on Kadyrov’s home village.
with agency reports