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14 Injured in Moscow Attack

September 7, 2000

MOSCOW (AP) _ Fourteen people were injured early Thursday when a man hurled an explosive device at a group of prostitutes in the center of Moscow, police said.

The attack just before dawn injured 13 women identified as prostitutes and one man, police said. An unidentified man tossed either a small bomb or a grenade into the group standing by the road and then escaped in a car, police said. All of the injured were hospitalized with shrapnel and blast wounds.

An initial investigation suggested the attack might be part of an organized crime clash over control of prostitution, police said. Criminal gangs often use contract killings and bombings to control drugs and prostitution.

On Thursday, police arrested two men, one identified as a known gang member, for possessing homemade bombs, the Interfax news agency reported. There was no indication if the arrests were linked to the bombing.

But the attack might also be connected to the war in Chechnya, where Russian forces are battling Islamic rebels, police said. A bomb blast in an underground passageway in Moscow last month that killed 12 people was blamed on either organized crime or the Chechens.

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