Shortly after Sandra called and asked if I heard the bombs. It is difficult to find out what is going on here but a picture gradually emerged. An extremist had planted one bomb and then blown himself up trying to plant the second bomb, as sort of unintended suicide bomber! He was the only one hurt (killed). Picture appeared on a website shortly afterwards showing bits of him on the sidewalk...most convincing.
The piece below is taken from the BBC ASIA internet news site a few days later.
"Two explosions have hit the oil city of Atyrau in western Kazakhstan, killing a suspected suicide bomber.
The first bomb, which was reportedly hidden in a rubbish bin near the local government headquarters, exploded just before 09:00 local time (04:00 GMT).
Shortly after, another blast took place outside the general prosecutors's office.
Kazakhstan - considered the most stable country in the region - has seen a wave of violence in recent months.'Died on the spot'
Regional prosecutors said no-one other than a man who is reported to have been the attacker was hurt or killed in Monday's blasts, Reuters news agency reports.
"An unidentified man used an explosive device, making him die on the spot and breaking the windows of a nearby apartment building," regional prosecutors said in a statement cited by Reuters.
The BBC's Rayhan Demytrie in Almaty says in the past few months Kazakhstan has experienced a series of extremist attacks, including two explosions in May.
In September, suspects accused of plotting terrorist attacks were arrested in Atyrau.
Last week, a previously unknown Islamist group threatened Kazakhstan with violence unless the authorities abolished a new religious law approved by President Nursultan Nazarbayev earlier this month.
The law, which the authorities say will help combat extremism, bans prayer rooms in state buildings and requires all missionaries to register with the authorities every year.
But critics warned that restrictions under the new law could backfire and fuel extremism rather than combat it, our correspondent says."
Last week there was another incident in a different Kazakh city, Taraz, in the south. Again from the news..."Seven die in armed clash in Kazakhstan - prosecutor
Astana, November 14, Interfax - Seven people, including five policemen, were killed and three other police officers wounded during an attempt to stop an alleged Islamist militant from robbing a weapons shop in a city in Kazakhstan on Saturday.
The incident, which involved an explosion and a shootout, occurred in Taraz, capital of the Zhambyl region, Kazakh Deputy Prosecutor General Nurmukhambet Isayev told a briefing in Astana.
He named the alleged militant as Kariyev, born in 1977.
Kazakhstan's prosecution service has launched murder and terrorism proceedings in connection with the incident.
On October 31, another Kazakh city, Atyrau, was the site of two bombings. Minutes after a bomb planted in a refuse bin on a street went off a man killed himself in an apparent suicide bombing near an apartment
building. The prosecution service qualified both incidents as acts of terrorism.
The same day the Soldiers of the Caliphate militant group posted a statement on the Internet claiming responsibility for both attacks, and on November 9 the Prosecutor General's Office announced that investigators had obtained evidence confirming that the group had been behind the two bombings."
This is all rather unusual for a usually peaceful country. Security has been stepped up at hotels and residences. They put two plastic cones in the road into the Marriott car park which was on par with the precautions taken at other buildings. Then a couple of days after that we went out one morning to see a huge 15 foot deep hole right in front of the entrance. Its big enough to swallow a Land Cruiser so we summised that this is extra security, a moat.