Six policemen wounded in Dagestan

Six police officers were wounded in the Russian region of Dagestan. A police van was blown up at a distance of about 500 meters from the state police department. Two policemen hospitalized in critical condition and four others injured.

The blast hit the van in Khasavyurt, west from the capital Makhachkala, police spokesman Dmitry Nikiforov said, according to the AP.

Also Tuesday, engineers defused a powerful explosive device on a highway west of Makhachkala, Interfax reported. The bomb, which consisted of a metal bucket filled with shrapnel and an electric detonator, contained the equivalent of about 10 kilograms (22 pounds) of TNT and was planted on the road about 100 meters (330 feet) from a railroad bridge, the agency said.

Meanwhile, two police officers were killed Monday night in a shootout with unknown gunmen on a highway about 60 kilometers (40 miles) south of Makhachkala. Angela Martirosova, another interior ministry spokeswoman, said police were looking for the gunmen, who were traveling in a small sedan when the gunfire broke out.

Near-daily attacks on police and authorities in Dagestan have raised fears that violence is spreading from neighboring Chechnya. Some of the violence is believed to be linked to criminal gangs.

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