Thu, Nov 01, 2007 - Page 1 News List

Russia says fatal bus explosion looks like act of terrorism

AGENCIES , MOSCOW

At least eight people were killed and 50 were injured yesterday in an explosion on a bus in the Russian city of Togliatti. Authorities said they were treating the suspected bombing as a terrorist act.

The early morning explosion on the bus, which came as people traveled to work during rush hour, was probably caused by up to 2kg of explosives, local police sources were quoted by local news agencies as saying.

"We have reached the conclusion that this was an act of terrorism," Samara region Governor Vladimir Artyakov said in comments broadcast by Russia's Vesti-24 news channel.

"We are clarifying what type of explosive device was used and we are also clarifying the possibility that there could be more victims," he said.

Ivan Skrylnik, a spokesman for Artyakov, who was visiting the injured in hospital, said the blast had caused shock among residents of the city who were not used to such attacks.

"There hasn't been anything of this sort in Samara Province before, no explosion of a bus," Skrylnik said.

Officials gave no indication of who might be behind the blast. Russian prosecutors tend to use the term "terrorism" broadly to describe almost any deliberate attack which causes a large number of casualties.

In one picture taken by an emergency worker at the scene, the body of one woman could be seen still sitting upright inside the bus.

Other pictures showed the bloody remains of victims, with clothes ripped from bodies -- face down in the debris -- and limbs hanging through blown out windows of the devastated bus.

"Eight people are dead, 50 are injured, with 10 rescue groups involved. The first arrived within five minutes of the explosion and more soon after," said Vladimir Markhin, the Togliatti representative of the Russian investigation committee.

Prosecutors had also opened criminal cases for murder and the illegal storage of explosives, Russian media reported.

"There is reason to believe that the explosive was planted either underneath or on the floor of the bus," the police source was quoted as saying.

Togliatti, an industrial city on the banks of the Volga river, is more than 1,000km southwest of Moscow and home to the country's biggest carmaker, AvtoVaz, and is sometimes called Russia's Detroit.

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