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Chechen militant claims responsibility for subway blasts

MAKHACHKALA, Russia - A Chechen militant claimed responsibility for the deadly attacks on the Moscow subway in an Internet message posted yesterday, hours after two more suicide bombers struck southern Russia in brazen defiance of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

Doku Umarov, who leads Islamic militants in Chechnya and other regions in Russia's North Caucasus, said in a video posted on a pro-rebel Web site that Monday's twin suicide attacks by two women were revenge for the killing of civilians by Russian security forces.

Umarov's statement appeared after Putin vowed to "drag out of the sewer" the terrorists who plotted the subway bombings, which killed 39 people and wounded scores of commuters during the morning rush hour.

Yesterday's bombings killed 12 people in Dagestan, a volatile southern province east of Chechnya. Putin said they could have been planned by the same group behind the Moscow bombings.

"I don't rule out that this is one and the same gang," he said at a televised cabinet meeting. Later, President Dmitry Medvedev called the attacks "links of the same chain."

The suicide bombings in Moscow were the first in the capital in six years. Many Russians had come to feel insulated from the violence in the country's predominantly Muslim southern corner.

Umarov blamed ordinary Russians for turning a blind eye to the killing of civilians in the Caucasus by security forces and warned of more attacks. - AP

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