GROZNY, Russia (AP) — A suicide bomber blew himself up Sunday in the capital of Chechnya, killing five policemen and wounding 12 others as the city celebrated the birthday of its pro-Kremlin leader, officials said.
The Chechen leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, told journalists at the scene that the suicide bomber was wearing a police uniform and presented police identification when he tried to go through metal detectors set up outside a concert hall in Grozny, the capital. When police moved to stop him, he detonated the explosives, Kadyrov said.
Several ambulances were seen leaving the site, which was blocked off by police.
The Investigative Committee, Russia's leading federal investigative agency, said five policemen were killed and 12 wounded in the attack. No civilians were reported wounded.
The attacker was believed to be a 19-year-old resident of Chechnya, the agency said in a statement.
After two separatist wars in the 1990s, Chechnya has become more stable under Kadyrov. But a Muslim insurgency still simmers throughout Russia's North Caucasus region, which includes Chechnya.
The last suicide bombings in Russia took place late last year in Volgograd, a city north of the volatile Caucasus region. The bombings of a train station and an electric trolleybus there killed 34 people and heightened security fears ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, about 700 kilometers (400 miles) away.
Lynn Berry in Moscow contributed to this report.