MAKHACHKALA, Russia – A car bomb exploded outside a government building in Russia’s restive Dagestan region Wednesday, killing three people and wounding five in what authorities said was an attempt to assassinate high-level officials.
A car parked in front of the regional administration building in the town of Kizlyar, near Dagestan’s border with Chechnya, blew up shortly after 5 p.m., said Eduard Urazayev, spokesman for Dagestan’s legislature.
All the victims were passersby, said Kazanfar Kurbanov, the chief doctor at an emergency hospital in Kizlyar.
The blast occurred as a car carrying the leader of Dagestan’s Security Council and the chairman of the regional branch of the federal pension fund pulled away from the building after the officials attended a meeting, Urazayev said.
The armored Mercedes was only slightly damaged and nobody inside was injured, he said.
Ethnically diverse Dagestan has been plagued by a steady stream of shootings, bombings and other violence, including attacks on top officials, some spilling over from neighboring Chechnya and some committed by local criminal and Islamic extremist gangs.
Earlier this month, Maj. Gen. Magomed Omarov, a Dagestani deputy interior minister, and three bodyguards were gunned down in the capital Makhachkala, 1,000 miles south of Moscow.