Russian officials have identified 30-year-old Naida Asiyalova as the suicide bomber who blew herself up on the No. 29 bus in Volgograd on Monday.
She killed six passengers and wounded at least 33 others in the bombing, the first attack on civilians outside Russia’s North Caucasus region in years.
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Officials said Asiyalova was part of a Muslim separatist group in her home province of Dagestan.
Dagestan is the center of a decade-long Islamic insurgency; bombings and shootings are an almost daily occurrence there.
Asiyalova was also suffering from a fatal bone illness, officials said, as evidenced by an appeal on a Russian social media site for money to help her obtain medical treatment. Her mother told the Izvestia newspaper that this was not true.
Russian security forces are now searching for Asiyalova’s husband, Dmitri Sokolov, a top explosives expert for a Muslim rebel group based in Makhachkala. They suspect he may have helped equip her for the attack.
Both Asiyalova and Sokolov were on a wanted list maintained by Russian security forces, who are concerned that Muslim separatists could cause trouble during the 2014 Winter Olympics, which will be held in Sochi.
Officials raised the possibility that Moscow was Asiyalova’s original target. She had a ticket on a bus from Dagestan to Moscow, they said, but got off in Volgograd and detonated her bomb on a local bus instead.