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Archive for Monday, July 10, 2000

Bombs rock southern Russia

July 10, 2000

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— Two bombs exploded at an outdoor food market and a department store in southern Russia on Sunday, killing at least seven people and wounding 18 others.

The explosion at the market in Vladikavkaz, the regional capital of North Ossetia, came more than a year after a bomb at the same marketplace killed more than 50 people. Russian officials blamed the March 1999 bombing on separatists from Chechnya, the breakaway republic that borders North Ossetia.

Sunday's market bombing killed at least five people and wounded 16, the Emergency Situations Ministry said. An explosive device was placed under a car near the market entrance, ministry spokesman Vasily Yurchuk said.

Television reports showed the shattered car and the street littered with debris and bloodstains. Two people died instantly and three more died later in a hospital, ministry officials said, adding that most of the injuries were caused by fragments from the device, which was packed with pieces of metal wire.

Police did not immediately offer a motive. About 300 people died in apartment bombings last year that the government blamed on Chechens. Bombs are also a frequent weapon in wars between organized crime groups across Russia.

The other explosion Sunday, in a department store in the southern city of Rostov-on-Don, killed two people and wounded two others.

The ITAR-Tass news agency, quoting witnesses, said a porter found a handbag in the store's backyard and took it inside. He found a vanity case inside the handbag and pulled what he thought was an opening ring, which turned out to be the pin of a hand grenade.

The porter was killed instantly, and three women clerks were injured in the explosion, a spokesman for the city's Interior Ministry said. One of the women died later of her injuries, the spokesman said.

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