Dagestan attack

The NYT reports that two suicide bombers struck in the Russian province of Dagestan at about 0830 local time this morning. The first attacker detonated his explosives when his car was pulled over at a police checkpoint in the town of Kizlyar (its not clear from the report if this was a VBIED or simply a suicide belt/vest that happened to be in a car). The BBC reports that the attack took place outside a security headquarters building. About 35 minutes after the initial blast, a second foot-borne bomber, disguised as a police officer detonated himself among the crowd of police and emergency personnel who had responded to the initial blast, killing among others, the local police chief. The attacks killed nine, mostly police officers, and injured another 18.

This style of attack is sometimes known as a ‘come-on’, whereby an initial incident is created in order to generate a response from the security forces. Once first responders arrive, they are then targeted by a second attack. This is a fairly common tactic, and has been used by groups around the world. Such incidents, using suicide attackers, have been quite frequent tin Iraq and Pakistan. I don’t recall a previous incident where this approach has been used in Dagestan/Checnyna before, so this might represent an evolution in the use of suicide tactics there. The use of a second bomber in police uniform also suggests a notable degree of planning and preparation.

Meanwhile, back in Moscow, the authorities have released images of the women they believe to have been responsible for Monday’s attacks. There are claims that prior to the attacks, women thought to be from the Caucasus were being stopped and searched by police, suggesting there may have been some intelligence warning on the bombings. Also the Russian paper Kommersant reports that the two women may have arrived in Moscow on a coach.

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