Five Russian soldiers killed in suicide blast

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Five soldiers have been killed and about 40 wounded in a suicide car-bomb attack on a Russian base, officials in Russia's violence-plagued republic of Dagestan said today.

A spokesman for the republic's Interior Ministry, Vyacheslav Gasanov, said the attack took place about 1am today (2100 GMT Saturday) at the base in the city of Buinaksk.

Mr Gasanov said the driver of the explosives-laden small Zhiguli automobile smashed through a gate of the base and headed for an area where soldiers are quartered in tents.

But soldiers opened fire on him before he reached the centre of the base. Mr Gasanov said the driver rammed the car into a military truck where it exploded.

Dagestan is gripped by near-daily violence between police and soldiers and insurgents believed to be inspired by separatists in neighbouring Chechnya.