A suicide car bomber hit the central market of a major city in Russia's North Caucasus on Thursday, killing at least 17 and wounding more than 130 people in one of the worst attacks in the volatile region in years, officials said.
The attacker detonated his explosives as he drove by the main entrance to the Vladikavkaz market, according to the Emergency Situations Ministry.
At least 17 people, including the suicide bomber, were killed and 133 were wounded in the explosion, said Alexander Pogorely of the Emergency Situations Ministry's branch in southern Russia. He said 98 of the injured were hospitalized, many in grave condition.
The market attack came as Muslims were preparing to celebrate Eid al-Fitr, a holiday marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan.
"The crimes like the one that was committed in the North Caucasus today are aimed at sowing enmity between our citizens," Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said in televised remarks during a meeting met with Russia's top Islamic cleric. "We mustn't allow this."
Russia's North Caucasus region has been gripped by violence stemming from two separatist wars in Chechnya and fueled by endemic poverty, rampant official corruption and police abuses.
|Liveleak on Facebook|