Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Deadly Russian Bus Blast Probably a Terrorist Attack (Update3)

A bomb exploded on a autobus in the
Volga River metropolis of Togliatti, killing at least eight people and
injuring 53 in what Russian functionaries are calling a probable
terrorist attack.

''The preliminary scenario is a terrorist attack,'' Samara
Governor Vladimir Artyakov said in remarks broadcast on state
television. Prosecutors have got opened a criminal investigation
focusing on three charges: terrorism, mass homicide and illegal
possession of an explosive device, Vladimir Markin, chief
spokesman for the Fact-Finding Committee of the Prosecutor
General's Office, said by telephone set from Moscow.

Alexanders Bastrykin, caput of the federal Investigative
Committee, flew to Togliatti today to head up the enquiry into
the explosion, Markin said.

Soviet Union have endured a series of terrorist onslaughts since
President Vladimir Putin was elected in 2000, many blamed on
Chechen insurgents. The two deadliest were the 2002 besieging astatine a
theater in Capital Of The Russian Federation that resulted in the deceases of more than than 120
hostages and the 2004 hostage-taking at a school in Beslan in
the North Caucasus Mountains that left 334 dead, mostly children.

Putin today ordered Alexanders Konovalov, his envoy extraordinary to the
Volga Federal Soldier District, which includes Togliatti, to provide
assistance to the households of those who died in the blast,
Interfax reported, citing an unidentified Kremlin spokesman.

Governor Artyakov declared Nov. One a twenty-four hours of mourning in the
Samara part in southern Russia, RIA Novosti reported, citing
an unidentified spokeswoman for the governor.

Terrorism Suspected

Law enforcement functionaries are considering two scenarios,
the first of which is a terrorist attack. They are also
investigating the possibility that a bomb carried by a passenger
on the autobus went off by accident, Russian mass media reported.

The device may have got been attached to the bottom of the
bus or placed inside on the floor, Interfax said, citing
unidentified investigators. The bomb contained the equivalent of
no more than than 2 kgs (4.4 pounds) of TNT, the news service

Togliatti, a metropolis of about 700,000 people, was the center
of the Soviet Union's car industry. Russia's largest
automaker, OAO AvtoVAZ, is the city's greatest employer.

Artyakov was the head executive director of AvtoVAZ until late
August, when Putin nominated him to take over as governor of the
Samara part from Konstantin Titov, who had been in the job
since 1991.

To reach the newsman on this story:
Patrick Henry in Moscow

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