At least 12 people were killed in twin blasts in Makhachkala, the capital of Russia’s North Caucasus Republic of Dagestan, a spokesman for the republic’s interior ministry said on Friday.
“Twelve people died – three civilians, three rescuers, the remaining [victims] are police officers. Casualty reports are still being verified,” the spokesman said.
Hospital sources earlier told RIA Novosti that the number of injured could be “between 25 and 30.” A police source said 20 people were injured.
The first blast, an apparent suicide car bomber attack, occurred near a police field post on the outskirts of the city at about 22:10 local time [18:10 GMT] on Thursday. The second explosion occurred nearby 10 minutes later, when a vehicle with emergency responders had arrived at the scene. Earlier reports said 9 people were killed and 20 injured.
The explosions could be heard throughout the city, located in Russia’s volatile North Caucasus. Attacks on security forces, police and civilians are still frequent in the region more than a decade after the end of a war against separatists in Russia’s North Caucasus republic of Chechnya.
A law enforcement said that the twin blasts are likely to be qualified as a terrorist attack.
The republic’s head, Magomedsalam Magomedov, had to cut short his working visit to Moscow and is urgently returning to the republic.