A woman blew herself up in Uzbekistan's (search) central Bukhara region Thursday, killing a man and critically injuring herself, police said.

The blast occurred around 4 p.m. at a two-story apartment building, and police were investigating at the scene, said a duty officer in the Bukhara regional police department who spoke on condition of anonymity.

She said officials were looking at possible links to a string of attacks that have struck Uzbekistan over the past week. Police relased no other details.

The blast occurred in the same area as an explosion at an alleged terrorist bomb workshop that killed 10 people Sunday night. Days of violence followed.

On Thursday, an Uzbek anti-terror official said it was linked to Al Qaeda (search), the first time the Uzbek government has directly accused the terror network headed by Usama bin Laden (search).

Including the latest explosion, at least 44 people have died in attacks, mostly alleged terrorists.

Ilya Pyagay, the Interior Ministry's deputy anti-terrorism chief, said earlier that operations were continuing to capture suspected terrorists.

"These are Wahhabis who belong to one of the branches of the international Al Qaeda terror group," Pyagay told The Associated Press, referring to the strict branch of Islam in which bin Laden was raised. "These are bandits who planned these attacks long in advance."

The unrest is the first to hit this Central Asian nation since it became the United States' key ally in the region after the Sept. 11 attacks. Hundreds of U.S. troops are housed at a military base near the Afghan border.