Image: Russian officer guards bomb attack wreckage.
Kazbek Basayev  /  AFP - Getty Images
A Russian special forces officer guards the wreckage after a car bomb attack in Nazran, in Russia's volatile north Caucasus region, on Thursday.
updated 5/17/2006 6:56:20 AM ET 2006-05-17T10:56:20

A suspected suicide bomber killed seven people, including a high-level police official, in a restive southern region of Russia on Wednesday, authorities said.

Ingushetia’s Deputy Interior Minister Dzhabrail Kostoyev, two of his bodyguards and four civilians were killed when a sedan packed with explosives blocked a road on the outskirts of the region’s main city of Nazran and blew up, police said.

Kostoyev, a target of attacks in the past, had been traveling in an armored car to work in Nazran, Interior Ministry spokesman Roman Shchekotin said.

He said preliminary information indicated it was a suicide attack.

Ingushetia, next to war-ravaged Chechnya in southern Russia’s North Caucasus, has been plagued by militant attacks, many targeting law enforcement officials and facilities. An attack targeting police in Ingushetia in June 2004 killed 92 people.

Kostoyev, then Nazran’s police chief, was wounded in August when unknown assailants detonated a radio-controlled land mine as his car was passing.

Russian news have reported that a mortar shell hit his office in February 2005, but that he was not there at the time, and that his home in the village of Ekazhevo was hit by gunfire twice late last year.

Poverty, corruption and religious persecution have fueled anger at the authorities in the North Caucasus, an ethnically mixed strip of republics, most of which have large Muslim populations.

The region is troubled by violence in some cases linked to the persistent conflict in neighboring Chechnya, where two wars have been fought in the past 12 years between federal forces and separatist rebels who increasingly have espoused extremist Islamic ideology.

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