Powerful explosions hit police post in Russia's Dagestan area

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Two powerful explosions went off Thursday night near a traffic police post in the capital of Russia's restive Dagestan region. There was no definitive word on casualties.

Interior Ministry spokesman Vyacheslav Gasanov said preliminary information indicated four people were killed and three wounded. State news agency RIA Novosti cited unnamed police sources as saying five were killed and 17 wounded while state news channel Vesti-24 said five people were taken to hospitals.

Gasanov told The Associated Press the blasts occurred about 15 minutes apart on the outskirts of Makhachkala, but that the construction of the bombs and how they were set off was still under investigation.

Footage from the scene broadcast by state-controlled Channel 1 televison showed towering flames shooting from burning vehicles after one of the blasts.

Dagestan is plagued by frequent attacks on police by Islamist insurgents. The insurgency spread to Dagestan from neighboring Chechnya, where Russia has fought two wars with separatists since 1994.