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Seven Die in Russian Market Bomb

April 28, 2002

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VLADIKAVKAZ, Russia (AP) _ A bomb tore through a market crowded with people buying flowers to place on relatives’ graves Sunday, killing seven people and injuring 45, officials said.

Large pools of blood mixed with metal and concrete fragments and the petals of flowers stained the market in the southern city of Vladikavkaz as investigators swarmed the area to look for clues.

Kazbek Dazntiyev, the region’s interior minister, said the bomb contained an estimated 18 ounces of TNT and that its effects were magnified by being placed in a sturdy iron pipe.

``It was a terrorist act,″ he said.

The bombing was the latest in a series of market blasts that have killed about 70 people in this city over the past three years.

Vladimir Kravchenko, head of the northern Caucasus prosecutor’s office, speculated that the blast might have been set off to destabilize the region during Sunday’s presidential elections in the neighboring republic of Ingushetia.

Bombings are also a frequent technique of criminals warring for control of enterprises in Russia.

Lev Dzugayev, head of the regional presidential administration, said seven people were killed and 45 were wounded, 10 of whom remained hospitalized Sunday night.

The market was crowded with people preparing for the Orthodox Palm Sunday ritual of purchasing flowers and pussywillows to place on relatives’ graves.

In November, an explosion at another outdoor market on the outskirts of Vladikavkaz killed five people and injured 60. Another market bombing in Vladikavkaz in 2000 killed six people and more than 50 died in a 1999 bombing in the city.

Vladikavkaz is located in the republic of North Ossetia some 950 miles southeast of Moscow. North Ossetia borders on the breakaway republic of Chechnya, where Russian troops have been battling rebels for 2 1/2 years.

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