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1 May, 2010 13:29

One dead, 29 injured as bomb goes off in Southern Russia

A 104- year-old veteran has been killed, while at least 29 have been injured in an explosion at a horse racing track in Nalchik, a city in the Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria in Russia’s Caucasus.

According to the republic’s law enforcement officials, the deadly explosive device was detonated by a timer mechanism.

The number of injured has risen to 29 with 23 hospitalized, the republic’s Emergency Ministry reports. Among the injured are Kabardino-Balkaria’s Culture Minister Ruslan Firov and the republic’s former Interior Minister Hachim Shogenov, said RIA Novosti news agency.

“The Minister of Culture of Kabardino-Balkaria has received minor injuries but was not admitted to hospital. The former head of the republic’s Interior Ministry Hachim Shogenov has been taken to the ministry’s hospital. He, along with some of his family members, received minor injuries,” a source in the republic’s Emergency Ministry told the agency.

According to a source in the local law enforcement body, the bomb was planted on the roof of the VIP box at the track.

“All the victims are civilians. Internal Affairs, police and Investigative Committee officials are currently at the crime scene. Bomb disposal experts are working at the site”, says Marina Tyakhova, from the local Interior Ministry

The president of Kabardino-Balkaria said that the explosion might be revenge on the part of extremists for the recent killings of militant leaders, reports news agency Itar-Tass.

Authorities believe the attack was deliberately targeting the holiday weekend.

“Currently all the festivities to celebrate May Day in the republic are continuing,” said the Interior Minister of Kabardino-Balkaria Yury Tomchak.

“Following today’s incident we have tightened security across Kabardino-Balkaria. Police with dogs and the bomb squad are checking places where big events are being held,” he added.

A criminal case on charges of terrorism, murder, attempted murder, illegal arms trade and illegal arms production has been launched.

Saturday has seen another incident in the neighboring republic of Ingushetia, when a man was shot dead after an attempt to attack policemen with a gun near a sports complex in Nazran.

“The incident happened at 12:30 Moscow time. The suspect tried to enter a sports complex where a judo tournament was taking place,” an Ingush police source was quoted by Interfax as saying. “When he was being inspected with a metal detector, the man pulled out a gun and opened fire at policemen. The assailant was killed by return fire.”

At the time of the attack the republic’s president Yunus-Bek Yevkurov was inside the sports complex.