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Karabulak - A suicide bomber blew himself up on Monday outside a police station in Russia's volatile North Caucasus region of Ingushetia, killing two police officers, officials said.
The deadly attack came after a wave of suicide bombings, including two attacks on the Moscow metro, killed more than 50 Russians last week, prompting the government to promise tougher measures against the Islamist insurgency in the North Caucasus.
The attacker detonated himself outside the local police headquarters in the Ingush town of Karabulak at about 08:20, Russia's investigative committee said in a statement.
"The suicide bomber died at the scene and six police officers with injuries from the blast were taken to hospital, where two of them died," it said.
The bomber struck as a car full of officers entered the compound, and his explosives were spiked with "incapacitating elements" designed to inflict maximum injuries, the statement said, in a likely reference to metal shrapnel.
A second, much more powerful explosion went off at 09:12 in a car parked across the street from the police station, it added.
The second explosion - which caused no deaths or injuries - was triggered by a police bomb squad, a law enforcement source told AFP.
Following the blasts, dozens of police stood near the police station, a drab two-storey building surrounded by metal fences and concrete barriers.
Many more deaths averted
The suicide bomber had been trying to enter the building and detonated his explosives when guards forced him to stop, a spokesperson for the regional interior ministry told ITAR-TASS news agency.
"The terrorist was apparently trying to enter the territory of the police station and trigger an explosion during the morning gathering, which would have led to many deaths," the spokesperson was quoted as saying.
An unnamed security source told the Interfax news agency that the attack in Ingushetia could be linked to last week's bloody suicide bombings in Moscow and Dagestan, another region of the North Caucasus.
"We are of course studying the possibility of a link between the explosions on Monday in Karabulak and the earlier terrorist attacks in Moscow and Dagestan," the source said.
The Ingush regional government said in a statement that the two dead police were named Ruslan Nalgiyev and Adam Kotoyev.
Ingushetia is a predominantly Muslim province of Russia's North Caucasus which neighbours war-torn Chechnya and has been troubled in recent years by a violent Islamist insurgency.
Russian authorities have sought to tighten security and boost efforts to hunt down insurgents since a pair of suicide bombers attacked the Moscow metro last week, killing 40 people.
That was followed by suicide bombings in Dagestan that killed 12 people, including a local police chief.
The so-called "Caucasus Emirate," an Islamist group led by Chechen rebel warlord Doku Umarov, has claimed responsibility for the metro attacks.
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