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At Least 3 Soldiers Killed in Grozny Suicide Blast

At least three Interior Ministry troops were killed and another three were wounded when a suicide bomber detonated explosives outside a Grozny department store on Monday, investigators said.

The attack occurred around 12:40 p.m. at the entrance to the Voentorg department store on the outskirts of Chechnya's capital, the Investigative Committee said in a statement carried by Interfax.

Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov blamed the bombing on Islamist militants led by Khuseyn Gakayev, a Chechen-born militant who was named last year as a deputy to rebel leader Doku Umarov.

"I have asked the law enforcement agencies to put their most experienced personnel on the job of finding them — to arrest them, or neutralize them if they resist," Kadyrov said during a visit to the scene of the bombing, according to a statement on the Chechen government website.

Residents said they heard two explosions, one of which sent flames and smoke into the air.

State television later explained that the second explosion occurred when sappers defused explosives at the scene, not the work of a second suicide bomber as some officials had initially suggested.

The Investigative Committee said a single body thought to belong to the suicide bomber and the remains of one suicide belt had been found.

The dead and injured soldiers were dispatched to Chechnya by the Interior Troops, a unit of the federal Interior Ministry.

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