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Bombing kills at least 10 in southern Russia

The attack at a market in North Ossetia is labeled terrorism.

November 07, 2008|Sergei L. Loiko | Loiko is a Times staff writer

MOSCOW — At least 10 people were killed and dozens injured Thursday in a suspected suicide bombing near the central market in the southern Russian city of Vladikavkaz, according to officials and news reports.

The explosion occurred as a minibus taxi pulled up outside the market about 2:30 p.m., destroying kiosks and shattering windows in nearby homes, Russian television reported.

A criminal investigation was immediately launched, said Chermen Zangiyev, senior investigator for the North Ossetia prosecutor's office. Vladikavkaz is the capital of the republic of North Ossetia.

"Right now we have no doubt that it was an act of terrorism," Zangiyev said in televised remarks.

Officials believed the bomber, who died in the blast, was a woman, news agencies reported.

The North Ossetia region includes the town of Beslan, where more than 300 people died in 2004 after gunmen linked to a separatist rebellion in Chechnya took control of a school.

Ella Kesayeva, head of the human rights organization Voice of Beslan, said in an interview that she feared terrorist acts in the region and that authorities were not doing enough to prevent such tragedies.

"A human life costs nothing in the North Caucasus," said Kesayeva, who lost two nephews and whose 12-year-old daughter was seriously injured in the Beslan siege.

Federal authorities are largely to blame for the political and economic instability in the region, which can lead to violence, said Oleg Panfilov, director of the Center for Journalism in Extreme Situations, a human rights organization.

"The economic situation in the North Caucasus republics is appalling," Panfilov said. "There is not a single viable production business down there. Most of the local population is unemployed."


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