Russia suicide blast death toll rises to 15

At least 15 people are now dead after a suicide car bomber targeted a city marker in Russia’s north Caucasus today.

More than 130 people were wounded in one of the worst terror attacks in the volatile region in years, officials said.

The attacker detonated his explosives as he drove by the main entrance to the Vladikavkaz market, said the Emergency Situations Ministry.

An official said 87 of the injured were in hospital, many in grave condition.

Russian television stations showed a shrapnel-littered square in front of the market, with blood stains on the pavement and rows of vehicles scarred by the blast.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev sent his regional envoy to Vladikavkaz to help co-ordinate efforts to help the victims.

No one claimed responsibility for the bombing, which was the deadliest such attack in the region since a double suicide bombing killed 12, mostly police officers, in the province of Dagestan in April. Twin suicide bombings on the Moscow subway in March killed 40 people.

Vladikavkaz is the capital of the Russian republic of North Ossetia. Although it is less plagued by violence than some other republics in the region such as Chechnya and Dagestan, North Ossetia has suffered ethnic tensions and frequent terror attacks.

It was the scene of the 2004 Beslan crisis, in which Chechen terrorists took hundreds of hostages at a school – a siege that ended in a bloodbath killing more than 330 people, about half of them children.

“The crimes like the one that was committed in the North Caucasus today are aimed at sowing enmity between our citizens,” Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said in televised remarks during a meeting met with Russia’s top Islamic cleric. “We mustn’t allow this.”

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