Bomb kills 17 in Russia

Blast in North Caucasus

An attacker detonated a bomb packed with metal bars, bolts and ball bearings in a car outside the entrance to the market in Vladikavkaz, capital of North Ossetia province, the Russian prosecutor general’s Investigative Committee said.

A witness saw at least five bloodied bodies lying among scattered vegetables and shattered glass near the market entrance, around 10 metres from a burning car. “Where is the ambulance?” a woman said, sobbing.

Car alarms wailed as firefighters doused the flames from a car that was mangled from the explosion. People used pieces of wood as makeshift stretchers for the wounded.

The bombing in mostly Orthodox Christian North Ossetia is a fresh blow to the Kremlin, which is struggling to rein in a growing Islamic insurgency in the neighbouring, mainly Muslim North Caucasus provinces of Chechnya, Ingushetia and Dagestan.

“Criminals like those who acted today in the North Caucasus hope to sow hatred between our peoples,” Prime Minister Vladimir Putin told Russia’s chief mufti, Russian news agencies reported. “We have no right to let this happen.”

The attack came after an Islamist website said a fire that knocked a hydroelectric power plant in Dagestan out of commission this week was caused by bombs planted by rebels. Nobody was hurt at the plant and supplies were not affected, officials said.

Taimuraz Mamsurov, North Ossetia’s top official, said a headless body was found in the wrecked car, ITAR-TASS reported. He said the car was passing the market entrance when it exploded, but the Investigative Committee said it was parked.

The bomb was the equivalent of 30-40 kg of TNT.

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