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Moscow Suicide Bombing Kills 10

The death toll of the Tuesday explosion near a metro station in northeast Moscow has reached ten, an official with the Federal Security Service (FSB) said.


Sergei Ignatchenko, head of FSB's Public Relations Center, said 37 people were wounded in the incident, Itar-Tass news agency reported.


The explosion, which has been confirmed as a terrorist act, was carried out by a female suicide bomber, Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov confirmed at the scene of the incident.


He noted that the woman "was scared of police officers, who were on duty at the entry to the metro station, and set off the bomb in the crowd," according to Itar-Tass.


There are four children among those injured and 12 of the wounded are in critical condition, Interfax news agency cited the mayor as saying.


The explosion, which broke out between the Rizhskaya metro station and the Krestovsky department store at about 8:15 p.m. Moscow time (1615 GMT), was equivalent up to 1 kilogram of TNT and it was so powerful that two cars parked nearby caught fire, according to Luzhkov.


Xinhua reporter saw two cars scorched by the blast were parking at the site and the wave of the explosion shattered the window glass of the metro station.


Dozens of law enforcement officials are cordoning the site of the blast and the metro station has been temporarily closed to passengers. Policemen accompanied by sniff dogs are searching for evidence at the scene.


Investigators are trying to identifying the type of the bomb and the explosives it contained. Earlier reports said the bomb was loaded with bolts and metal pieces.


Moscow has tightened security measures following the blast, including reinforcing police patrol at key administrative facilities and public gathering places, Interfax reported.


The explosion came after Sunday's presidential election in Russia's Chechen republic, in which Kremlin-backed Alu Alkhanov won a landslide victory to replace pro-Moscow Akhmad Kadyrov who was killed in a terrorist bomb blast on May 9.


Precisely a week ago, two Russian passenger planes crashed almost simultaneously, killing all the 90 people aboard and raising suspect that terrorist attacks were behind the tragedies.


Traces of explosives were found aboard both planes and investigators suspected that two female Chechen passengers – each aboard one aircraft -- might have brought down the planes.


A group called the "Islambouli Brigades" have claimed responsibility for the twin crashes.


Moscow has suffered from a number of suicide bombings blamed on Chechen rebels in recent years. A female suicide bomber blew herself up outside a hotel adjacent to Red Square in December, killing five other people. In February, 41 people were killed in a rush-hour explosion on the Moscow subway that officials said was a terrorist attack.


(Xinhua News Agency September 1, 2004)

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