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Russian Woman Wounded in Explosion

May 27, 2002

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MOSCOW (AP) _ A woman was hospitalized Monday with severe burns from an explosion that went off while she was trying to tear down a roadside sign outside Moscow reading ``Death to Jews,″ police said.

The woman was in critical but stable condition at a Moscow hospital after the incident 18 miles southwest of the capital, said traffic police investigators.

The woman had been driving along the highway when she spotted a sign hand-painted with black letters reading ``Death to Jews″ posted by the roadside. She stopped her car and tried to pull the sign out of the earth, and was hit by the explosion, according to the Moscow regional police.

A traffic police investigator confirmed the blast was caused by an explosive device.

Russia’s top prosecutor was investigating, Interfax news agency reported.

``All manifestations of extremism and national hatred will receive the toughest punishment,″ prosecutor Gen. Vladimir Ustinov said, according to Interfax.

The incident came amid heightened fears of racist violence in Moscow in recent weeks. While ultranationalist violence in Russia remains rare, Russian skinheads threatened a ``war against foreigners″ earlier this year and several attacks against dark-skinned people have been reported recently.

Russia’s chief rabbi, Berel Lazar, labeled Monday’s explosion as terrorism.

``Terrorism in today’s Russia, as around the world, is a major threat and both society and the authorities should fight against it,″ he told Interfax.

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