Two police officers wounded in Russia's restive Dagestan region

Two police officers wounded as unknown assailants opened fire on a police patrol car in the Dagestani city of Khasavyurt early Thursday, the regional Interior Ministry said.

Police launched a search for the attackers in the region, which borders Chechnya, but the attackers escaped, ministry spokeswoman Anzhela Martirosova said.

Police and government officials in the Caspian Sea province have been targeted in a series of bomb blasts and shootings, stoking fears that Chechnya's persistent instability and violence was spilling over to other Caucasus regions. Officials say 40 law enforcement officers have been killed in attacks in Dagestan this year alone.

Two more police officers were lightly wounded when assailants opened automatic weapons fire at them Wednesday in another troubled Russian Caucasus region, Kabardino-Balkariya, said Russian Interior Ministry spokesman Roman Shchekotin.

He also said an alleged rebel accomplice had been killed Wednesday night while preparing explosives in the village of Nasyr-Kort in the republic of Ingushetia. The explosives, equivalent in force to two kilograms (4.4 pounds) of TNT, were almost identical to those used in an unsuccessful assassination attempt against the Ingush prime minister last month, Shchekotin said, reports the AP.


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