Islamist group claims responsibility for suicide bombing in southern Russia

MOSCOW (AP) — A Chechen Islamist rebel group has claimed responsibility for last week's suicide car bombing in Russia's volatile North Caucasus that left 18 dead and 140 wounded.

The Riyadus Salikhin Martyrs' Brigade says the attack was part of a "jihad" against Russia in the North Caucaus, where most of the republics are predominantly Muslim.

Last Thursday's attack took place in Vladikavkaz, the capital of the North Ossetia republic, which has a sizable Muslim minority.

The group has previously claimed responsibility for several terrorist attacks. The statement was posted on a website sympathetic to Chechen rebels.

The region has been gripped by violence stemming from two separatist wars in Chechnya and fueled by poverty and corruption.