Car Bomb Defused Near Hotel in Russia Ski Resort


Sappers in Russia's insurgency-plagued Caucasus region defused a car bomb placed near a hotel in a popular ski resort area, police said Sunday.

The car, wired with explosives with the equivalent power of about 70 kilograms (155 pounds), was found Saturday, a day after three Russian tourists headed for the ski area were killed by masked gunmen and a ski lift was heavily damaged in an explosion.

The car bomb was parked near a small hotel in Terskol, a village in Kabardino-Balkariya, one of the republics in the Caucasus region that is gripped by rising violence connected to Islamic insurgents and criminal gangs, police spokesman Maxim Ushanov said.

Terskol is near Mount Elbrus, Europe's tallest mountain and a popular winter sports destination.

Russian officials in January announced a $15 billion plan to develop five large ski resorts in the Caucasus, an effort to address the poverty and high unemployment that feed the insurgency. The killing of the tourists, the ski lift bombing and the car bomb could discourage the foreign investment that Russia has sought for the project.

No claim of responsibility has been issued for the attacks, but insurgent leader Doku Umarov this month vowed that violence would increase if Russia does not give up the largely Muslim region. Umarov made that statement after the January suicide bombing at Moscow's Domodedovo Airport that killed 36 people; Umarov said he ordered that attack.