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Moscow Blast Kills 39; Terrorism Suspected - 2004-02-06


An explosion has ripped through a subway train in Moscow, killing at least 39 people in what authorities say could have been a suicide bombing.

About 120 other people were wounded. The blast came during the morning rush hour today (Friday) on the Moscow Metro. Dozens of ambulances and firetrucks hurried to the scene at Moscow's Paveletskaya Square.

Televised pictures show dazed and bleeding passengers making their way out of a Metro station. The train was traveling from the Paveletskaya station toward the Avtozavodskaya station.

Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested Chechen separatists were responsible, saying they are to blame for the terrorism that plagues Russia. But the Chechen rebel leadership issued a statement condemning the blast and denying involvement.

No one has claimed responsibility for the explosioni, which comes six weeks before Russia's presidential election.

Suicide bomb attacks in Russia have become the trademark of Chechen separatist rebels battling against Russian rule over their homeland in the Caucasus. Moscow has been on alert for terrorist attacks after a series of recent attacks blamed on Chechen rebels.

In December, a suicide bomber blew herself up outside Moscow's famed National Hotel, just across from Red Square and the Kremlin, killing five people and herself. Two Chechen suicide bombers blew themselves up at a Moscow rock concert last July, killing 14 people.

Information for this report is provided by AFP and Reuters.

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