Suicide bomber kills one in Russia's south

EKAZHEVO, Russia (Reuters) - A female suicide bomber killed herself after shooting dead a policeman on Friday in Russia’s North Caucasus region, where the Kremlin is struggling to contain an Islamist insurgency, police said.

Suicide bombers have killed more than 50 people and injured 100 in a series of attacks that began on March 29 when two young women blew themselves up on the Moscow metro.

Police said that the woman, wearing a suicide belt, opened fire at them, wounding one policeman who later died.

When police returned fire she blew herself up with the explosive device strapped to her body, officers at the scene told Reuters.

Dressed in a long jeans skirt and black top, her body later lay badly mutilated in a pool of blood.

The shoot-out took place in the village of Ekazhevo in Ingushetia, where senior rebel leader Said Buryatskty was killed in a battle with security forces in early March.

Three other militants were killed in Ekazhevo on Friday in gunfights with police, state-run news agencies reported.

Earlier on Friday, a bomb exploded in the center of Dagestan’s capital Makhachkala, but no one was hurt.

The Moscow bombings turned the global spotlight on Russia’s mainly Muslim North Caucasus region, especially Ingushetia, Chechnya and Dagestan, where Islamist militants fighting for an independent Muslim state battle with law enforcement personnel.

Writing by Amie Ferris-Rotman; Editing by Michael Roddy