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Four police killed, eight injured in South Russia blast -1

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Four police officers were killed and at least eight injured in an explosion in southern Russia's Republic of Daghestan early Wednesday, local police and medics said.
(Adds casualties, recasts headline, lead, para 2, adds details, background in paras 3-7)

MAKHACHKALA (Daghestan) - Four police officers were killed and at least eight injured in an explosion in southern Russia's Republic of Daghestan early Wednesday, local police and medics said.

An explosive device was detonated at 7:40 a.m. Moscow time (3:40 a.m. GMT), when police officers were jogging at a sports ground in the town of Kizilyurt in central Daghestan, police said.

The injured officers were hospitalized, and one of them is in a serious condition undergoing surgery. An investigation is underway.

"The gunmen activated a radio-controlled explosive device made of a 76-mm-caliber artillery shell," the Daghestani Interior Ministry's spokesperson, Anzhela Martirosova, said. "The bomb was buried underground near the building where police usually change their clothes."

Daghestan, an ethnically mixed, largely Muslim republic in the volatile North Caucasus, has been plagued with violence, stemming both from the conflict in neighboring Chechnya and political infighting and turf wars over fishing and other lucrative economic activities.

One Russian policeman was shot dead and two others wounded Sunday by two suspected militants, while the officers were inspecting an abandoned car in the city of Khasavyurt.

Also Sunday, a former local administration head, Tamerlan Amayev, was wounded after a bomb exploded in a restaurant in Khasavyurt. On Saturday, a Daghestani lawmaker and his guest were killed in an attack on the deputy's house in eastern Daghestan.

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