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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Ingush PM Injured in Roadside Attack

ROSTOV-ON-DON -- Two roadside bombs exploded in Ingushetia on Thursday, wounding the republic's prime minister, Ibragim Malsagov, in an apparent assassination attempt, officials said.

The explosions in Ingushetia, which officials said also killed a driver and wounded two others, were the latest sign of growing violence across the restive North Caucasus.

Malsagov was hospitalized after the attack in the city of Nazran, but his life was not in danger, Fyodor Shcherbakov, Kremlin envoy to Ingushetia, said.

Malsagov, the republic's second-highest-ranking official, was wounded in the hand and the leg, said spokesman Nikolai Ivashkevich of the southern regional branch of the Emergency Situations Ministry.

Malsagov's driver was killed and two others were injured, he said, but did not give further details about the other victims.

The two explosives, placed about 10 to 15 meters apart, detonated within 10 seconds of each other near one of the city's outdoor markets as the prime minister's motorcade passed, said the republic's top police official, Interior Minister Beslan Khamkhoyev, Interfax reported.

National television networks showed footage of what appeared to be Malsagov's black Mercedes, its rear window a maze of cracked glass, and of a deep crater by the roadside.

Deputy Prosecutor General Nikolai Shepel said in televised comments that the attack seemed to have "the same signature" as other terrorist attacks that have struck the North Caucasus, adding: "I mean the international organizations that unfortunately are present in the south of Russia."

Federal authorities are eager to link their fight against militants in the North Caucasus with the international struggle against terror, and often point to alleged international involvement in attacks there. Government critics say a flawed Kremlin ethnic policy and corruption among regional leaders are major causes of the violence.

Last week, Nazran police chief Dzhabrail Kostoyev was wounded when unknown assailants detonated a radio-controlled land mine as his car was passing.

Ingush police and security forces were also targeted in a devastating overnight assault by militants in June 2004, in which some 90 people were killed. Chechen rebel leader Shamil Basayev claimed responsibility for that attack and for the hostage-taking last September at a school in Beslan.

Dagestan also has been plagued by frequent bombings and other attacks targeting government and law enforcement officials. Authorities in other North Caucasus republics have battled militants who they say are Islamic extremists, and analysts have said that major violence could break out in the region.