Dozens killed in Moscow metro 'terror' blast

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The Independent Online

An explosion ripped through a train carriage on the Moscow metro today, killing at least 39 passengers during today's morning rush hour.

An explosion ripped through a train carriage on the Moscow metro today, killing at least 39 passengers and wounding more than 100 others during today's morning rush hour.

Officials differed over whether the blast, which hit five weeks before Russia's presidential election, had been caused by a suicide bomber. Deputy Moscow Mayor Valery Shantsev said that investigators had not found metal shrapnel, which usually fills suicide bombers' explosives. He said that the bomb had likely been in an attache case or rucksack on the floor of the subway ca

A severe fire broke out and passengers were being evacuated from Avtozavodskaya station, said Viktor Beltsov, spokesman for the Emergency Situations Ministry.

Police immediately barricaded the two metro stations and stopped all traffic on the metro, clogging up the capital's streets.

The Russian capital has been on alert for terrorist attacks following a series of suicide bombings that officials have blamed on Chechen rebels.

In December, a female suicide bomber blew herself up outside the National Hotel across from Moscow's Red Square on Tuesday, killing at least five others. Two suicide bombers blew themselves up at a Moscow rock concert in July, killing themselves and 14 other people. That was followed five days later by an aborted suicide bomb attack at a central Moscow restaurant that killed the sapper trying to defuse the bomb. The suicide bomber was arrested and is currently awaiting trial.

In August 2000, a bomb exploded at a crowded pedestrian underpass filled with kiosks at Pushkin Square, a popular meeting place located near a metro line. The attack was initially blamed on Chechen rebels, but some police later said that a turf battle between rival businessmen or criminal gangs could have been the motive.

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