A female suicide bomber identified as a widow of two killed Islamists blew herself up in the southern Russian region of Dagestan injuring at least 18, including two children and five police officers. She detonated an explosives-laden belt in the central square in the provincial capital, Makhachkala.
The bomber was identified as Madina Alieva, 25, who married an Islamist who was killed in 2009 and then wedded another Islamist radical who was gunned down last year.
Since 2000, at least two dozen women, most of them from the Caucasus, have carried out suicide bombings in Russian cities and aboard trains and planes. All were linked to an Islamist insurgency that spread throughout Dagestan and the predominantly Muslim Caucasus region after two separatist wars in neighbouring Chechnya. The bombers are often called “black widows” in Russia because many are widows or relatives of militants killed by security forces. Islamist militants try to convince them that bombing will reunite them with their dead relatives beyond the grave.
The Tsarnaev brothers, suspected of carrying out last month’s Boston Marathon bombings, are ethnic Chechens who lived in Dagestan before moving to the United States. Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the elder brother who was killed in a shootout with police days after the 15 April bombings, spent six months in Dagestan in 2012.
Last week a double explosion in Makhachkala killed four civilians and left 44 injured, while three security officers and three suspected militants have been killed in other incidents.