Moscow bomb 'targeted parliament'

A bomber has killed six people and wounded 13 in a Moscow attack which authorities say may have targeted the Russian parliament.

    Authorities suspect Chechen rebels for the attack

    Police said they suspected Tuesday's blast was set off by at

    least one female bomber who wore a belt packed with

    explosives and ballbearings.

    Her blown-off head was discovered lying on a busy pavement on

    Moscow's Mokhovaya street facing the Kremlin.

    A second undetonated device was discovered on a woman's body

    after police had secured the site.

    "There may have been two suicide bombers," Moscow Mayor Yury

    Luzhkov said.

    Officials said the bomber had apparently tried to target

    the State Duma lower house of parliament building that was a few

    dozen metres away.

    Another suspect

    "My car was covered with chunks of human flesh. There

    were two girls covered in blood and human flesh who were crawling

    through the snow"

    Vladimir Khomerkov,
    Moscow bomb witness 

    Police said they were looking for another suspect who might

    have taken part in the attack and had the features of a person from

    the Caucasus - the code used to indicate the blast

    was carried out by Chechen rebels.

    The ITAR-TASS news agency quoted an unnamed security official as

    saying Russian authorities had identified one of the

    bombers as a woman for whom they had been looking since July.

    "She went through training in one of the rebel camps," the

    official said in apparent reference to Chechen resistance fighters

    .

    Putin launched the Chechen invasion in October 1999, but the

    brutal war did not feature as a campaign topic in recent Duma elections in

    which pro-presidential forces stormed to power.

    Officials said the 14 wounded included several students from

    Moscow State University and that five people were in serious

    condition.

    Moscow chaos

    Witnesses described scenes of chaos breaking into the heart of

    Moscow at the start of a regular business day amid posh hotels,

    shops and government buildings.

    "For five minutes (after the blast) it went all quiet as the

    bodies lay on the ground. Then police and ambulance cars arrived,"

    said Vladimir Khomerkov, 45.

    "A businessman who had an expensive coat on was lying on the

    ground with his head torn off. It was just lying there," he said.

    Reports quoted a police official as saying two women had

    walked up to a passer-by and asked "Where is the Duma?" - referring

    to the parliament chamber that faced re-election on Sunday. A blast

    went off, moments later.

    Brutal Chechen war

    Putin was elected president 
    after his brutal Chechen invasion 

    It was not immediately clear if Putin was inside the Kremlin at

    the time of the explosion.

    Putin has been identified closely with the war in Chechnya. He

    launched the brutal war while still serving as prime minister in

    October 1999, in a move that proved very popular

    .

    Support for the war has since cooled and much of Russia's

    state-controlled media make only limited mention of the conflict

    .

    The Moscow blast went off just two days after Russia took

    extraordinary security measures to make sure the Duma elections went

    off safely.

    Two days before the vote, a bomb attack struck a

    train in a southern Russian region, travelling near Chechnya, killing

    44 people and injuring more than 170 others.

    SOURCE: AFP


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