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Dagestan bomb kills 32

Bomb aftermath: Flowers rest on a drum played during the Victory Day parade
Bomb aftermath: Flowers rest on a drum played during the Victory Day parade  

MAKHACHKALA, Russia -- MOSCOW (CNN) -- An explosion during a Victory Day military parade has killed at least 32 people and injured at least 130 others in the southern Russian republic of Dagestan.

Among those killed were 12 children and 15 servicemen.

Russian President Vladimir Putin called the attack "terrorism."

Government sources said Thursday's blast occurred shortly before 10 a.m. (1 a.m. EDT) as a military band was passing through a square in the city of Makhachkala.

It is believed the bomb was set off by remote control, according to the source.

The victims included children, veterans and musicians who were marching down the street toward a cemetery to lay wreaths at the town's Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

NTV television reported that the city's hospital was already overflowing with injured.

Ria news agency quoted the president as saying: "Nobody doubts that this was a terrorist act. In the shortest possible time, we will find, convict and punish the criminals."

The blast happened in the Kaspiysk area of Makhachkala, on the Caspian Sea, during celebrations marking the 57th anniversary of the Allied victory over the Nazis.

The cause of the blast was not immediately known although the Interfax news agency cited emergency officials as saying a mine, hidden in bushes, hit a bus carrying the band.

In a separate incident across the border in Chechnya, rebels fired on a sports stadium where Russian forces and Chechen civilians were also celebrating the anniversary.

One police officer was seriously wounded, news reports said, during the attack in the capital, Grozny.

The rebels fired grenade launchers from an apartment building near the Dinamo stadium, NTV television and the Interfax news agency reported.

NTV showed footage of schoolgirls running in alarm and Russian forces surrounding the apartment building.

Putin vowed to
Putin vowed to "find, convict and punish" the bombers  

Both incidents came as Putin, addressing the main Victory Day parade in Moscow's Red Square, said terrorism was the new common threat facing the world, as Nazism had been almost 60 years ago.

"Only by uniting the effort of the people and the state can we confront these threats," he said.

"That was well proven by the anti-Hitler coalition. The coalition countries defeated the enemy. And today, we are again uniting and finding allies against a common threat. Its name is terrorism."

Dagestan sees frequent small-scale bombings and other unrest - often spillover violence from the two-and-a-half year war in the adjacent breakaway province of Chechnya.

Two weeks ago seven people died and 45 were injured in a bomb explosion at an outdoor market in the southern Russia city of Vladikavkaz. (Full story)

Dozens more were injured when the device went off in the city in the republic of North Ossetia 940 miles southeast of Moscow, close to the breakaway republic of Chechnya.

Last November, five people died in an explosion in the same city.

In July 2000, five people were killed in two blasts in provinces bordering Chechnya.

In November 1996, a huge bomb killed 68 people in Kaspiysk when it tore through an apartment building housing Russian border guards.

The perpetrators were never found, but many blamed Chechen rebels. Kaspiysk is home to a large number of Russian border guards.

Moscow blamed Chechen rebels for a series of attacks inside Dagestan and bomb attacks across Russia and launched a military campaign against the separatists.

While the rebel administration was driven out and replaced with a pro-Moscow government the rebels continue to attack Russian targets inside Chechnya on a virtually daily basis.


• Russian market bomb kills seven
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April 14, 2002
• Russian troops killed in Chechnya
April 6, 2002
• Radio station fuels diplomatic row
April 4, 2002
• Weekend of violence in Chechnya
March 17, 2002
• Georgia: Caucasus flashpoint
February 28, 2002

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