пятница, 7 ноября 2008 г.

Death toll in North Ossetia minibus blast rises to 12


MOSCOW, November 7 (RIA Novosti) - The death toll in Thursday's blast at a bus stop in the capital of Russia's North Caucasus republic of North Ossetia has risen to 12, including a female suicide bomber, a local police source said on Friday.

"As a result of the blast...12 people were killed and 39 received injuries of varying degrees. A suspected suicide-bomber was identified among the dead," the source said.

Investigators earlier said the blast in the centre of Vladikavkaz was caused by an explosive device set off at a bus stop at 2:30 p.m. Moscow time (11:30 GMT) as passengers got off a public minibus.

The majority of the dead are reported to be students aged 17-18.

The device was reportedly equivalent to 300-500 grams (0.7-1.1 lbs) of TNT and stuffed with metal objects to increase its destructive force.

"Preliminary data indicates it was a plastic explosive," the source said.

November 8 has been declared a day of mourning in North Ossetia for those killed in the explosion.

North Ossetia borders the republic of Ingushetia, which has seen a marked increase in fighting between militants and federal troops this year. It is also where the Beslan school siege took place in 2004.

The neighboring breakaway Georgian republic of South Ossetia was the focus of a five-day war between Russia and Georgia this August. The conflict began when Georgian troops attacked the republic on August 8. Russia later recognized the republic as an independent state and thousands of Russian troops remained stationed there.

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