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MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Two policemen were killed and at least one wounded in new attacks on police checkpoints in Russia's Daghestan province in the northern Caucasus, Russian news agencies reported on August 15.

Interfax news agency said, quoting local police, that one serviceman was wounded when a checkpoint near the Interior Ministry headquarters in the regional capital Makhachkala came under sniper fire. He later died in hospital.

"Supposedly these are the snipers who have been shooting at policemen in the last few days," Interfax quoted an unnamed police official as saying.

Police blocked traffic out of the city. Two hours after the first incident, gunmen fired shots at a checkpoint on the outskirts of Makhachkala, killing one policeman and wounding another, news agencies said.

On August 13, seven women were shot dead in a sauna in Daghestan and, in separate attacks, eight policemen and two separatists were killed in northern Caucasus region, which saw a sharp upswing in violence in recent weeks.

Growing lawlessness and Islamist violence in Daghestan, Chechnya and neighboring Ingushetia are undermining the Kremlin's control of its southern flank.