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Page last updated at 18:17 GMT, Thursday, 1 April 2010 19:17 UK

Russia leader Dmitry Medvedev visits bomb-hit Dagestan

Dmitry Medvedev in Dagestan
Dmitry Medvedev's rhetoric echoed that of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has visited Dagestan the day after it was hit by suicide attacks, and promised "tough, severe" anti-terror tactics.

He flew to the North Caucasus republic for talks with regional leaders, after 12 people were killed on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, funerals were held in Moscow for most of the 39 people killed on Monday when two suicide bombers blew themselves up on the city's Metro.

A rebel Chechen leader, Doku Umarov, has said he ordered the Moscow attack.

In a video message posted on a rebel website, he warned Russians to prepare for more attacks.

Investigators had already said they believed the women who blew themselves up in Moscow were linked to North Caucasus militants.

'Dagger blows'

Accompanied by top security officials, Mr Medvedev flew to Makhachkala on Thursday to hold emergency talks with the leaders of Russia's troubled North Caucasus republics, including Dagestan, Chechnya and Ingushetia.

"We must deal sharp dagger blows to the terrorists; destroy them and their lairs," Mr Medvedev said.

Aftermath of the bombings in Kizlyar
All of these [bombings] are links of the same chain
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev

"The list of measures to fight terrorism must be widened. They must not only be effective but tough, severe and preventative. We need to punish."

His visit comes a day after 12 people, nine of them police officers, were killed in two suicide bombings in the Dagestan town of Kizlyar, not far from the border with Chechnya.

In the first blast, a man detonated about 200kg of explosives when police tried to stop his car near the offices of the local interior ministry and the domestic intelligence agency, the Federal Security Service (FSB).

As police, emergency services and residents gathered at the scene, another man wearing a police uniform approached and blew himself up, killing among others the town's chief of police.

Mr Medvedev told security officials that the bombings in Kizlyar and Moscow were "links of the same chain".

"This is the manifestation of the same terrorist activity which has lately begun to make itself felt in the Caucasus, which we are all fighting against and which we will continue to fight," he said.

The attacks came almost a year after Mr Medvedev declared an end to Russia's "counter-terrorism operations" in Chechnya in a bid to "further normalise the situation" after 15 years of conflict that claimed more than 100,000 lives and left it in ruins.

Despite this, the mainly Muslim republic continues to be plagued by violence, and over the past two years Islamist militants have stepped up attacks in neighbouring Ingushetia and Dagestan.

'Not the last'

In the video published on the rebel Kavkaz Center website, Doku Umarov said his group was responsible for the two suicide bombings that struck Moscow's Metro.

Doku Umarov: 'I promise you that the war will come to your streets'

"On 29 March, two special operations to eliminate infidels and to greet the FSB were carried out in Moscow. Both these operations were carried out at my order. They will not be the last, God willing."

He said the attacks were an act of revenge for the killings of Chechen and Ingush civilians by the Russian security forces near the town of Arshty on 11 February.

The rebel, who styles himself as the Emir of the Caucasus Emirate, said attacks on Russian soil would continue.

The BBC's Richard Galpin in Moscow says more attacks are exactly what many people had feared after the bombings.

He says the bombings showed how vulnerable the capital is, and that the intelligence agencies lack the information they need to protect the city.



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