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Explosion Kills Four in Russia

November 10, 2001

VLADIKAVKAZ, Russia (AP) _ An explosion at a market in the southern city of Vladikavkaz killed as many as seven people and wounded 50 on Saturday, police and emergency officials said.

A faulty natural gas container being used to cook meat on an outdoor grill was believed to have caused the blast.

But the Interfax news agency said investigators were pursuing the possibility that the blast was caused by an explosive device placed under the grill because the explosion was more powerful than expected if only a gas container exploded.

Vladikavkaz, located in the republic of North Ossetia 940 miles southeast of Moscow, borders on the breakaway republic of Chechnya, where Russian troops have been battling rebels for the past two years.

The market is located on the outskirts of the city, where tensions are high after a man armed with grenades burst into a children’s clinic on Oct. 30 and took 19 people hostage before releasing them and fleeing.

Saturday’ blast killed as many as seven people, said Alikhan Torchinov, the health minister for North Ossetia.

Timur Dzhebelov, an emergency worker, said flames shot 30 feet into the air, and that the explosion destroyed dozens of market stalls.

Update hourly