A roadside bomb targeting a member of the Dagestani branch of the State Road Safety Inspectorate (GIBDD) went off in Khasavyurt as the officer was passing by in his police vehicle, but the intended victim was not hurt, the Dagestani Interior Ministry’s press service told Interfax on January 19. The blast left a crater 85 centimeters deep and more than a meter across.
The underground Islamist group that has assassinated dozens of police officers in Dagestan, the Sharia Jamaat, wrote a letter posted by the Chechen separatist website Chechenpress on January 26 denouncing Dagestan’s Spiritual Board of Muslims, which represents the republic’s official Muslim clergy, as hypocrites who have long been “carrying out a war against the Koran.” On January 11, Chechenpress posted a Sharia Jamaat statement warning “all police and other hypocrites” to “fear Allah and revenge by Muslims” (see Chechnya Weekly, January 12).
Meanwhile, a Dagestani jury on January 24 acquitted Magomed Salikhov of charges that he organized the September 4, 1999 bombing of an apartment building housing Russian military officers and their families in Buinaksk, the Associated Press reported. The jury found Salikhov guilty of illegally crossing into Russia from Azerbaijan and using forged documents. Several other men were convicted in 2001 on charges of carrying out the explosion, and two of them, including Salikhov’s younger brother, were sentenced to life imprisonment. Prosecutors said that Khattab, the Saudi-born Chechen rebel field commander who was killed in 2002, had promised them $30,000 for carrying out the blast. The Buinaksk bombing, which killed 64 people, was one of several apartment building bombings across Russia in 1999 that killed hundreds of people and helped trigger the second military campaign in Chechnya.