Blast hurts over 10 in Russia's Nalchik

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The Independent Online

More than ten people were injured when a bomb exploded today in Nalchik, the capital of Russia's Kabardino-Balkaria republic, in a sign that unrest is spreading in the troubled North Caucasus region.

Russian news agencies quoted law enforcement officials as saying the bomb exploded in a VIP box during horse races in Nalchik.

No fatalities were reported but RIA Novosti news agency said two people were in a grave condition. ITAR-TASS reported that leaders of the republic, including President Arsen Kanokov, did not attend the race meeting.

Kabardino-Balkaria is near Russia's troubled regions of Chechnya, Ingushetia and Dagestan but the level of violence there has been much lower so far than in the other three regions.

North Caucasus is beset by frequent attacks targeting law enforcement officers, part of a surge in violence in the region a decade after wars between government forces and Chechen separatists.

"(The blast) could be revenge by extremists for the destruction of the leaders of bandit groups and could be aimed at destabilising the situation in the republic during May holidays," ITAR-TASS quoted Kanokov as saying.