Suspected Russian bus bomber killed in shootout

Alleged organiser of Volgograd attack among five militants shot by police

A woman visits a cemetery outside Makhachkala, capital of the violent North Caucasus region of Dagestan,  where a number of Islamic militants killed by security forces are buried.   Photograph: Ilyas Hajji/Reuters

A woman visits a cemetery outside Makhachkala, capital of the violent North Caucasus region of Dagestan, where a number of Islamic militants killed by security forces are buried. Photograph: Ilyas Hajji/Reuters

Sat, Nov 16, 2013, 17:30

Russian police killed the main suspected organiser of last month’s bombing of a bus in Volgograd and several other suspected militants in Dagestan today, according to Russia’s National Anti-Terrorism Committee.

The federal government body said the husband of the suicide bomber who detonated the bus bomb was among five militants killed in a shootout after a stand-off lasting hours at a house in Makhachkala, capital of the violent North Caucasus region of Dagestan.

Dmitry Sokolov had told police during the siege at the house he had made the bomb set off in Volgograd by the woman authorities have named as Naida Asiyalova, the committee said.

The bombing, the deadliest attack outside the North Caucasus for nearly three years, raised fears of more Islamist violence as Russia prepares to host the 2014 Winter Olympics in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, near the mainly Muslim region.

Bombings and shootings are a frequent occurrence in Dagestan, at the eastern edge of the North Caucasus, where insurgents say they are fighting to create an Islamic state.

Ahead of the games in February, Russia is taking saliva samples from religiously conservative Muslim women, according to locals in the North Caucasus, gathering DNA so authorities can identify the body parts if any become suicide bombers.

Last month a police source in Dagestan said Sokolov, originally from the Moscow suburbs, had met Asiyalova online. He disappeared from Moscow last year, and is also believed to have prepared a suicide belt used in an earlier bombing in Makhachkala in May.

Reuters