Explosion Rocks Russian Town
May. 09, 2002
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MAKHACHKALA, Russia (AP) _ An explosion tore through the central square of a southern Russian town on Thursday, killing at least 10 people and injuring at least 80 during celebrations marking the 57th anniversary of the Allied victory over the Nazis.
The blast occurred during a holiday celebration in Kaspiisk, on the Caspian Sea just south of the capital of the Dagestan region, Makhachkala, said Abdul Musayev, spokesman for the regional police headquarters.
The Interfax news agency cited emergency officials as saying a mine hidden in bushes hit a bus carrying a military brass band.
Dagestan sees frequent small-scale bombings and other unrest, often spillover violence from the war in the adjacent breakaway province of Chechnya.
In November 1996, a huge bomb killed 68 people in Kaspiisk when it tore through an apartment building housing Russian border guards. The perpetrators were never found, but many blamed Chechen rebels. Kaspiisk, north of the Russian border with Azerbaijan, is home to a large number of Russian border guards.
Thursday's blast came while the country was in a buoyant, patriotic mood thanks to parades and celebrations nationwide to mark Victory Day, one of Russia's biggest holidays. Thousands of troops marched across Red Square past President Vladimir Putin and aging World War II veterans on Thursday, while triumphant music and films filled the airwaves and streets were blanketed in building-size banners.
About 27 million Soviet citizens were killed in the war, the biggest loss of any country.