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Number of injured in south Russia car blast rises to 18 — republic leader

February 15, 2016, 15:21 UTC+3 MAKHACHKALA

Two people were killed

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© Bashir Aliyev/NewsTeam/TASS

MAKHACHKALA, February 15. /TASS/. Two people were killed and some 18 others were wounded in a car blast at a traffic police post in southern Dagestan on Monday, the North Caucasus republic’s head, Ramazan Abdulatipov, has said.

"This is a major crime aimed against law enforcement agents. Two people have been killed and around 18 people have been injured," said Abdulatipov, who visited the blast scene and those injured in hospitals.

Earlier in the day, Abdulatipov did not rule out that the blast was a terrorist attack. "Monday’s morning was marred by a tragic event - a blast occurred at a traffic police post located in the Derbentsky district of Dagestan near the village of Dzhemikent."

"The investigators do not rule out a version of a terrorist attack saying that a suicide bomber could have set off an explosive while in the car," Abdulatipov wrote on his Instagram page.

Local prosecutors said earlier two police officers were killed, and another six police officers and six civilians were injured in the explosion. The blast occurred when police officers stopped a Lada Priora car for checks.

A criminal case has been launched into the explosion that is under personal control of Dagestan’s Prosecutor-General. An investigation is ongoing "to establish all the circumstances of the crime," the republic’s investigative department of Russia’s Investigative Committee told TASS.

A source in the North Caucasus republic’s law enforcement agencies earlier said the blast was believed to be the act of a suicide bomber.

According to preliminary data, two 122-mm shells were inside the car that exploded and just several body parts were there believed to belong to a suicide bomber, a source said.

"Just a fragment of the suicide bomber’s head, a foot and a wrist have been left. One of the fingers may help identify him. The specialists are now dealing with this," the source said.

The eyewitnesses also said the blast was apparently a terrorist attack and the vehicle had stopped on purpose before the explosion.

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