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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

2 Suspects Arrested in Train Bombing

Two insurgents were arrested Wednesday in Ingushetia on suspicion of bombing a passenger train traveling from Moscow to St. Petersburg in August, the Interior Ministry said.

If the suspects prove to be both insurgents and train bombers, it would mean militants have again begun venturing out of the North Caucasus after a lull of more than two years.

Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev said the suspects had been transferred to Moscow for questioning.

"There is circumstantial evidence that is very compelling. ... The information is very interesting," Nurgaliyev said, Interfax reported.

Itar-Tass, citing an unidentified Ingush law enforcement official, identified the suspects as Markham Khidriyev, 30, and his brother, Maksharip, 29. FSB agents and local policemen arrested the two in the village of Ekazhevo, the official said, adding that they were also suspected of carrying out a series of robberies in central Russia.

Phone calls to the spokesman for the investigators in the Prosecutor General's Office who are handling the bombing went unanswered Wednesday afternoon.

The Aug. 13 explosion derailed the train as it passed through the Novgorod region, injuring 60 people.

Investigators had pursued different leads, including the possibility that the bomb might have been detonated by nationalists. Two St. Petersburg anarchists and a Chechen native had been detained in the case. The three were later freed for lack of evidence, but the Chechen was charged with robbery in a separate case.

Ingushetia has seen more rebel attacks this year than any other region of the North Caucasus, signaling that the insurgency remains strong in the volatile and economically depressed republic. In comparison, federal and local law enforcement officials have kept rebels on the run in Chechnya and Kabardino-Balkaria.

The rebel responsible for the insurgency in Ingushetia is Magomed Yevloyev, who was ordered by Chechen rebel leader Doku Umarov to oversee all fighting outside of Chechnya and Dagestan in September 2006. Yevloyev heads a group called the Caucasus Front.

One terrorism expert said he doubted that North Caucasus-based rebels had carried out the attack to stage a comeback after a summer of attacks in 2004, which included the bombing of two passenger planes that took off from Moscow's Domodedovo Airport.

"Typically, when terrorist organizations undergo a period of setbacks and temporarily suspend their activities in order to consolidate their strength -- as the Caucasian Front has recently been forced to do -- they typically do not come out unless they are ready to do so with a major bang." said Adam Dolnik, a terrorism researcher at the Centre for Transnational Crime Prevention in Australia. The train bombing could not be considered a bang because it killed no one and did not cause major damage, he said.