A Caucasus Emirate suicide bomber killed 16 people and wounded 98 more in an attack in the southern city of Vladikavkaz in the Russian Republic of North Ossetia today.
The suicide bomber, who has been identified by Russian police as Archiyev, detonated his car in the center of a market in the southern city just after 11:00 a.m. local time. Police said that between 30 to 40 kilograms of TNT were used in the car bomb, RIA Novosti reported.
Russian authorities expect the casualties to mount. Eight people, including two children, are said to be in critical condition, ITAR-TASS reported.
The suicide bombing in Vladikavkaz is the latest in a series of attacks by the al Qaeda-linked Caucasus Emirate in the southern Russian republics. This year, Caucasus Emirate suicide bombers and assault teams have struck at targets in Chechnya, Dagestan, Ingushetia, Stavropol, and Kabardino-Balkariya, and have even struck in Moscow.
The latest attack, on Aug. 29, took place in the village of Tsentoroi, the birthplace of Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov, in Chechnya. A unit from the Caucasus Emirate, estimated at between 12 to 60 men strong, raided the village but were repelled by police . During the raid, 12 terrorists and five policemen were killed.
The Riyad-us-Saliheen Martyr Brigade, the specially trained suicide teams of the Caucasus Emirate, have carried out the suicide attacks in Russia. Doku Umarov, the leader of the Caucasus Emirate, reconstituted the Riyad-us-Saliheen Martyr Brigade in April 2009 to carry out attacks across Russia.
The Caucasus Emirate’s most recent high-profile suicide operations include: the double suicide attack in Moscow’s Metro on March 29 (39 people killed); a double suicide attack that targeted police in the city of Kizlyar in Dagestan on March 31 (13 people killed); and a suicide attack at a concert in Stavropol on May 26 (seven killed). Also, a suicide bomber nearly killed Ingush President Yunus Bek Yevkurov in an attack in June 2009.
Over the past year, Russian security forces have been hunting the Caucasus Emirate’s top leaders and have had some success. Among those killed are Amir Sayfullah, the commander of forces in Dagestan and a top sharia official; Said Buryatsky, the mufti, or religious leader, for the Caucasus Emirate, who has been described as Russia’s Osama bin Laden; Yasir Amarat, a wanted terrorist commander from Jordan; and Mokhmad Mohamad Shabban, an Egyptian who was one of the founders of al Qaeda in the Caucasus. Security forces also captured Emir Magas, the military commander of the Caucasus Emirate. [For more information on counterterrorism operations in the Caucasus and Russia’s battle with the Caucasus Emirate, see LWJ report, Russians kill top Caucasus Emirate leader.]
• Death toll from Vladikavkaz blast climbs to 15, ITAR-TASS
• Police defeat Caucasus Emirate assault on Chechen president’s hometown, The Long War Journal
• Caucasus jihad: Terror tactics back on the horizon?, The Long War Journal
• Russians kill top Caucasus Emirate leader, The Long War Journal
• Russian police kill al Qaeda’s co-founder in the Caucasus, The Long War Journal
• Said Buryatsky Reported to be Among Six Militants Killed in Ingushetia, Georgian Daily
• Russians capture, kill 2 top Caucasus Emirate commanders, The Long War Journal
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