MOSCOW — A female suicide bomber blew herself up on a city bus in southern Russia yesterday, killing six people and injuring about 30, officials said. The attack in Volgograd added to security fears ahead of the Winter Olympics in Sochi.
The suspected bomber was from the North Caucasus, a region in southern Russia where an Islamic insurgency has been simmering for more than a decade following two separatist wars in Chechnya. A local official said the suspected attacker was married to an Islamic militant.
Volgograd lies 400 miles to the northeast of the North Caucasus, while Sochi sits to the west along the Black Sea.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for yesterday’s suicide bombing, but it was the first outside the North Caucasus since Chechen rebel leader Doku Umarov three months ago called for a resumption of attacks on civilians and urged militants to target the Sochi Games, which are to be held in February.
Russia in past years has seen a series of terror attacks on buses, airplanes and other forms of transportation, some of them carried out by suicide bombers. The last suicide attack on a bus was in 2008.
Twin bombings on the Moscow subway in March 2010 carried out by female suicide bombers killed 40 people and wounded more than 120. In January 2011, a male suicide bomber struck Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport, killing 37 people and injuring more than 180.
Umarov, who had claimed responsibility for the 2010 and 2011 bombings, ordered a halt to attacks on civilian targets because of the mass street protests against President Vladimir Putin in the winter of 2011-12. He reversed that order in July.
The suspected bomber was from Dagestan, one of the predominantly Muslim republics in the North Caucasus, said Vladimir Markin, the spokesman for the Investigative Committee, Russia’s main investigative agency.
In a statement, he identified the suspect as 30-year-old Naida Asiyalova. Russian state television showed pictures of Asiyalova’s passport.