MOSCOW, March 31 (UPI) -- Two explosions in Russia's North Caucasus region Wednesday killed at least 12 people, including eight police officers and the chief of police, officials said.
Regional officials said the explosions in Kizlyar, in the Dagestan region near Chechnya, occurred near the Interior Ministry and the Federal Security Services facilities, and a school, Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported. At least 23 people were hospitalized, officials said.
"An explosive device was detonated when a car was leaving the city's Interior Ministry department. According to preliminary information, two Interior Ministry employees were in the car," investigators said in a statement.
About 20 minutes later, "a suicide bomber, dressed in a police officer's uniform, arrived at the scene where an investigation group was working, and activated an explosive device he had on his body," the statement said.
The explosions came two days after terrorist attacks on the Moscow subway system killed at least 39 people and injured dozens more. Investigators said they believe the Moscow attacks were committed by terrorists from the North Caucasus region.
Magomedsalam Magomedov, president of Dagestan, said the incidents in Moscow and Kizlyar were "links in the same chain," although no ties between the two events have been found, RIA Novosti said.
"The terrorist acts in Moscow and Kizlyar are links in the same chain," Magomedov said after arriving in Kizlyar. "These people do not want peace, they want war."
Russian Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev ordered beefed-up security for strategic and crowded places, saying, "Today's terrorists will use any target."