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Car bombs kill at least two in Russia's Dagestan

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Police investigators work at a blast site outside a building used by court officials in central Makhachkala, Russia, on Monday. At least eight people were killed and more than a dozen injured in twin car-bomb blasts.

MAKHACHKALA, Russia - Two car bombs killed at least two people on Monday in Dagestan, a turbulent province in Russia's North Caucasus region where armed groups are waging an Islamist insurgency. 

The mother of the two brothers suspected of the Boston Marathon bombing has told ITV News that her sons went to the event last year. Her chilling admission comes a day after her youngest son was charged with the crime in hospital. From her home town in Dagestan, ITV's Martin Geissler reports.

Car bombs, suicide bombings and firefights are common in Dagestan, at the centre of an insurgency rooted in two post-Soviet wars against separatist rebels in neighbouring Chechnya. 

Investigators initially said eight people had been killed by the successive blasts in the provincial capital Makhachkala, but law enforcement officials later put the death toll at two and said more than 20 people had been wounded.

Both explosions were near the headquarters of the court bailiffs' service and appeared to have been detonated by remote control, said the federal Investigative Committee, a Russian state agency.

Twisted wreckage of a car could be seen near the building, which was cordoned off by police.

The main suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings in the United States, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, lived in Dagestan with his family about a decade ago and visited the region last year.

The visit by Tsarnaev, who was shot dead by U.S. police after the April 15 bombings that killed three people and wounded 264 others, is being scrutinised by U.S. investigators for signs of ties with insurgents.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered law enforcement authorities to ensure insurgents do not attack the 2014 Winter Olympics next February in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi, which is close to the North Caucasus.

Most of the wounded and the two dead were caught by the second of Monday's explosions, a few minutes after the first, the investigators said.

Insurgents in the North Caucasus have often sought to increase casualties by setting off an initial blast to attract law enforcement officers and then detonating a second bomb.

Dagestan, an ethnically mixed, mostly Muslim region between Chechnya and the Caspian Sea, has become the most violent province in the North Caucasus, where insurgents say they are fighting to carve out an Islamic state out of southern Russia.

At least 405 people were killed in Dagestan in violence linked to the insurgency last year, according to the Caucasian Knot website, which tracks developments in the region.

Putin launched the second war in Chechnya as prime minister in 1999 and likes to take credit for preventing the region from splitting from Russia. But his 13 years in power have been marred by deadly attacks claimed by or blamed on the insurgents.

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