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Friday, March 19, 1999 Published at 12:51 GMT

World: Europe

Bomb kills more than forty in Southern Russia

A bomb has exploded in the southern Russian city of Vladikavkaz, killing at least fifty people and injuring many more.

The blast tore through the busy central market area, leaving shoppers and stallholders among the dead.

President Yeltsin has called the bombing an act of terrorism, and he's sent his Interior Minister Sergei Stapashin to investigate.

Vladikavkaz is the capital of North Ossetia, which has until now been a relatively stable corner of Russia's turbulent Caucasus region.

But Ossetia supported Russia in its war against separatists in nearby Chechnya, and the BBC Moscow correspondent says today's bombing may have been a revenge attack by radical Chechen forces. But our correspondent says the blast may also have been a more general attempt by extremists to spread more chaos throughout the region.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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