Fri, September 10, 2010
World > Europe

Russian president vows to punish those behind deadly blast in North Ossetia

2010-09-10 07:23:56 GMT2010-09-10 15:23:56 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

MOSCOW. Sept. 9 (Xinhua) -- President Dmitry Medvedev said Thursday the state would do all it can to find and destroy those responsible for the deadly car bomb attack that killed 15 people in the southern Russian city of Vladikavkaz in North Ossetia.

GOVERNMENT CONDEMNS

Medvedev asked North Ossetia leader Taimuraz Mamsurov to tell the people of the republic that the Russian people share their grief.

"I would like you, on behalf of the Russian leadership, to convey our sympathy and tell them that we will do all we can to catch these bastards, as you call them, who have committed a terror attack, a barbaric terror attack, against ordinary people. We will do all we can to find and punish them in accordance with the laws of our country, and we will destroy them if they offer resistance or in other circumstances," Medvedev was quoted by Interfax news agency as saying.

The government has decided to give victims of the attack compensation, with 1 million rubles (about 33,000 U.S. dollars) for each family who lost members in the explosion.

Earlier Thursday, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin labeled those behind the attack as "soulless" and appealed for a "common duty" to fight them.

"The crimes like the one that was committed in the North Caucasus today are aimed at sowing enmity between our citizens. We have no right to allow this," Putin was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying.

Putin noted the crime was committed on a holy day for Muslims - Uraza Bairam - which is traditionally associated with peace and accord.

He expressed condolences to the families of the dead and those injured, saying he was sure Russia's Muslims would make a decisive contribution to combating extremism.

OVER 100 INJURED

The powerful explosion ripped through the central market in Vladikavkaz on Thursday morning. According to the latest figures, 114 people were injured.

Many of the injured were in critical condition, and some would be sent to Moscow hospitals, a medical source said.

The blast, equivalent to about 30 kilos of TNT, was caused by a car bomb. The car used to carry the explosive was parked near the market in Zanayev Street, a local police source said.

Soon after the blast, another explosive device was found near the entrance to the market.

Hours later, the owner of the vehicle, a man named Dobriyev, was arrested, the police said.

"The car owner named Dobriyev has been apprehended and is being questioned," a North Caucasian federal district police officer told Interfax.

The detainee claimed that he sold his vehicle to an unknown man on Wednesday, the officer said.

"The suicide bomber who blew up the Volga parked near the market was blown to pieces and can only be identified by DNA tests," a local Interior Ministry official said.

MOSCOW SECURITY TIGHTENED

In wake of the deadly attack, police bolstered security in Moscow, police spokeswoman Zhanna Ozhimina told Interfax.

"In connection with the Vladikavkaz terror attack, Moscow police chief Vladimir Kolokoltsev instructed district police heads to brief officers to be more vigilant, and to concentrate on instructions issued by the Interior Ministry and the National Anti-Terror Committee," Ozhimina said.

Road traffic police have been told to remain alert for suspicious vehicles entering Moscow, especially motor vehicles with North Caucasus number plates, she said.

North Ossetia, as well as its neighboring Dagestan and Chechnya, have seen increasing violence in recent years.

The Vladikavzak market has been the target of two previous terrorist attacks.

In 1999, an explosion in the market killed 55 people and injured some 300 others. In 2008, 12 people were killed and over 40 wounded in a bus bombing.

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