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RUSSIA - Feb. 6 - Bomb Kills 39 In Moscow.

A bomb explodes inside a crowded subway train during the morning rush, killing at least 39 people and wounding more than 130 in what officials say is the latest in a series of terrorist attacks linked to the war in Chechnya. The bomb - said to be hidden inside a backpack or bag - ravaged the second car of the train as it left the Avtozavodskaya station in south-east Moscow and headed towards the city's centre at 8:45 am. Putin, appearing in Baku with new President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan, responded indirectly (as he did on Dec. 9, when a suicide bomber killed herself and 5 others in front of the National Hotel, just a short ways from the Kremlin). Putin did not address the bombing in detail but called for an intensified international effort to combat terrorism, saying: "It is the plague of the 21st century". (With the Feb. 6 bombing, there have been 13 terrorist attacks in the last year, most of them suicide bombings. More than 260 people have died in the attacks, including at least 62 in Moscow itself. Irina Khakamada, a former parliamentary deputy who has launched a quixotic presidential campaign, said that the Kremlin's military and political efforts in Chechnya, including a referendum and presidential elections in the republic last year, had proved ineffective at ending the violence. "The peace process that is under way is not guaranteeing people's security", she said in a radio interview on Ekho Moskvy. As they have after each of the terrorist attacks, officials announced that they had increased security at airports and at subway and railroad stations across Moscow and in other major cities, including St. Petersburg. There appears to be little, however, the authorities can do to halt the attacks, especially those carried out by bombers willing to die. Officials said witnesses reported seeing a man and a woman who appeared to be from the Caucasus, where Chechnya is located, carrying suspicious bags. It was not clear whether the bombing was a suicide attack, but the authorities later released a composite sketch of the man, suggesting he was not among those killed. Some politicians called for even tougher measures. The new vice speaker of the Duma and a leader of the nationalist party Motherland Dmitry Rogozin, called for a state of emergency and suggested that next month's election be postponed).
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Publication:APS Diplomat Recorder
Date:Feb 7, 2004
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