Female suicide bomber suspected of Russia bus blast; at least 5 dead

Members of Russia's emergency services work near a damaged bus after a bomb blast in Volgograd in this handout provided by the Russian Emergencies Ministry, Monday. Russian Emergencies Ministry / Reuters

MOSCOW – A female suicide bomber from Dagestan is suspected of a bus explosion in Volgograd, Russia that killed at least five people Monday, investigators told local media.

A child was among 27 people injured in the blast, according to Russian news agency, Interfax.

Russian state television channel Russia 24 reported that investigators believe the blast was carried out by a woman from the troubled region of Dagestan, whose husband had links to militant insurgents.

The woman’s documents were found near the site of the blast, the channel said, citing sources in the investigation.

A similar report was carried by the Interfax news agency, according to Reuters. Interfax said investigators believe the suspect to have been the wife of an Islamist militant. 

One of the bombing suspects, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, went to Dagestan during a six-month visit to Russia last year, and Russian and U.S. authorities are trying to determine whether he had contacts with militants there.

The National Anti-Terrorism Committee, Russia’s top counter-insurgency agency, issued a statement: "Today at 2:05 p.m., an unknown explosive device detonated on a passenger bus in the city of Volgograd, causing human casualties.”

U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul has posted the following message in Twitter in Russian: "The U.S. government expresses its condolences to the families of those who have died and been injured in today's terrorist attack in Volgograd."

Insurgents who say they are fighting to create an Islamic state in Russia's mostly Muslim North Caucasus have carried out deadly bombings inside and outside the region, made up of several provinces along Russia's southern border.

The insurgents claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing that killed 37 people at Moscow airport in January, 2011, and two nearly simultaneous suicide bombings that killed 40 people on the Moscow subway in 2010.

Volgograd is a city of around one million people that lies 560 miles southeast of Moscow and a few hundred miles north of the North Caucasus and Black Sea resort city of Sochi, where Russia will host the 2014 Winter Olympics. 

Reuters contributed to this report. Alastair Jamieson reported from New York.

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