msnbc.com news services
updated 2/14/2011 4:24:43 PM ET 2011-02-14T21:24:43

A suicide attacker and a car-bomb blast targeting police killed at least two people and wounded several others on Monday in a village in Russia's Dagestan region, authorities and news reports said.

The bombings were the latest outbreaks of nearly daily violence in Dagestan, one of the hotbeds of an Islamic insurgency the Kremlin is struggling to contain in Russia's mostly Muslim North Caucasus.

A female suicide bomber blew herself up while trying to enter a police station in the southern Dagestan region on Monday, killing a soldier and wounding six others, officials said.

The bomber was stopped by a military patrol as she tried to enter the building in the central village of Gubden, said regional police spokesman Vyacheslav Gasanov.

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The victims were soldiers who guard the police station, and those wounded in the attack have been hospitalized, Gasanov said.

About three hours later, a car-bomb exploded near a temporary police post on the edge of the village, Russian news agencies reported. Shooting was heard and most of the lights in the village were out.

State-run RIA news agency cited an Interior Ministry official as saying the car-bomb blast was also set off by a suicide attacker and that one police officer was killed and five others wounded.

Interfax cited an unidentified law enforcement official as saying one police officer was killed and several wounded, but it also cited a hospital employee who suggested the injury toll was higher.

Also Monday, a suspected Islamic militant was killed in a shootout with security forces outside Dagestan's capital, Makhachkala. Gasanov said two policemen were wounded during the shootout.

Islamic militants have stepped up their attacks on military, police and civilians both in Northern Caucasus provinces and in central Russia. Insurgents are committed to building an Islamic state in the region.

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A 20-year-old suicide bomber from Ingushetia, another province that borders Chechnya, blew himself up at Moscow's busiest airport last month, killing 36 and wounding more than 180 people.

Human rights groups and critics of Kremlin-appointed provincial governments say that federal forces and police trigger the violence with extra-judicial killings, arrests, kidnappings and other abuses. Government critics and experts claim that young men have no other options but to join the insurgents because corrupt officials blacklist their families to extort bribes.

Czarist Russia conquered the mountainous and multiethnic Northern Caucasus region by the late 19th century. After the Soviet collapse, the region was beset by violence, stoked by poverty, corruption, Islamist extremism and feuding criminal gangs.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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