FSB Says Ingush Bombings Foiled

Authorities in Ingushetia said Monday that they averted a large-scale terrorist attack in the turbulent North Caucasus republic and were searching for three suspects currently at large and believed to be planning suicide missions.

Officers from the Federal Security Service, or FSB, discovered two powerful homemade bombs late Sunday evening near a gas station in the town of Malgobek, 60 kilometers from the Ingush capital Magas, regional FSB spokesman Damir Rossin told The Moscow Times on Monday.

The bombs were made of two 12-liter galvanized buckets filled with ammonium nitrate and aluminum powder and connected to electric detonators and pieces of metal bars, Rossin said. The bombs were later defused, he said.

Separately, Ingush law enforcement officials were searching for three suspected suicide bombers who had arrived in Ingushetia to carry out a large-scale terrorist attack, Rossin said. It was unclear if the suspected attackers were linked to the bombs discovered Sunday evening, he said.

Meanwhile, in an interview published Monday, Ingush President Yunus-Bek Yevkurov accused the West of trying to cripple Russia by destabilizing the Caucasus.

U.S. and British intelligence are attempting to "destroy Russia" by sending terrorists to "Russia's south," Yevkurov told the biweekly Novaya Gazeta.

In a separate interview published Monday in the weekly magazine Kommersant Vlast, Yevkurov called the Caucasus a "zone of U.S. interests."

Yevkurov's allegations recalled the language of his controversial predecessor, Murat Zyazikov, who last year accused the United States of trying to stir up trouble in the restive republic. Ingushetia is one of the most impoverished and volatile republics in the North Caucasus.

Attacks have become a near-daily occurrence in Ingushetia. In an attempt to stabilize the republic, President Dmitry Medvedev nominated Yevkurov, a military general, to replace Zyazikov, who resigned in October after a six-year reign.

The Ingush opposition had repeatedly called for Zyazikov's ouster, accusing him of murder, corruption and mismanagement. It has accused Zyazikov and former Ingush Interior Minister Musa Medov of ordering the killing of opposition leader Magomed Yevloyev, whose relatives declared a blood feud against the two officials after his murder in August.