A suicide bomber exploded a truck at a Russia’s North Caucasus on Monday, killing at least 19 people and wounding nearly 70 others, officials said.
The bombing was the deadliest in months in the restive southern region, denting Kremlin claims that the area was stabilizing after 15 years of separatist fighting in Chechnya and violence in surrounding provinces.
The attacker rammed the gates of the Nazran city police headquarters, in Ingushetia province, and detonated his explosives as police officers were lining up for a morning check, said Svetlana Gorbakova of the regional branch of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Prosecutor General’s office.
Police had fired shots at the truck, but failed to stop it. The blast triggered a fire that raged for hours, destroying a weapons room where ammunition detonated.
A nearby apartment building and several office buildings were also damaged, and burned-out cars littered the street.
At least 19 people were killed and 68 others wounded, including 10 in critical condition, Gorbakova said.
An Associated Press reporter saw 11 badly burned bodies at a morgue in Nazran, the largest city in Ingushetia, which borders Chechnya to the west.
Local authorities announced a three-day mourning.