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The BBC's Orla Guerin in Moscow
"This time Chechen rebels really are to blame, analysts say"
 real 56k

Russian spokesman, Vladimir Andreyev
"The vast majority of Russians are sure Chechen terrorists are to blame"
 real 56k

Chechen spokesman, Roman Khalilov
"These bombs were used to gather public support for the war in Chechnya"
 real 56k

Tuesday, 8 August, 2000, 22:24 GMT 23:24 UK
Blast rocks Moscow subway
Victims being treated at the scene
Victims being treated at the scene
A bomb has ripped through an underpass packed with hundreds of commuters and shoppers in central Moscow, killing eight people and injuring about 50.

The bomb went off during rush hour in one of the city's busiest subways, in Pushkin Square. A second bomb was found and defused near the scene of the blast.

Smoke pours from the subway
Smoke pours from the subway
Moscow's mayor, Yuri Luzhkov, said it was a terrorist attack carried out by Chechen rebels.

"The testimony from several witnesses who were able to answer questions in hospital shows ... it was 100% Chechnya," he said in an interview on NTV private television.

President Vladimir Putin has personally taken charge of the investigation, calling a meeting of top security and defense ministers.

There has been no claim of responsibility for the blast. Chechnya's president, Aslan Maskhadov, denied that rebel forces were involved.

Dozens injured

Smoke poured out of the underpass after the blast, with dozens of people emerging bleeding and with blackened faces.

An injured woman receives treatment
Medics attend more of the wounded
There were of scenes of utter confusion, with crowds milling about and emergency services treating badly injured people lying in the road.

One woman was carried to an ambulance, her flesh burned and bleeding.

Another lay on the pavement, screaming as ambulance men bandaged her legs.

Russian bombs
31 Aug 1999: Bomb in a shopping centre near the Kremlin
9 Sept: Moscow apartment block bombed, 94 killed, more than 200 injured
13 Sept: Apartment building bombed, 118 killed
16 Sept: Bomb at an apartment block in Volgadonsk in southern Russia

"We heard a bang and the lights went out. I was hit by the blast wave," said Natalya Zulumatova.

"There was smoke all over the place. We all managed to get out in the smoke. I saw many injured people."

The Russian President Vladimir Putin called a meeting of cabinet ministers to discuss the explosion and has set up a headquarters to oversee an investigation.

Anxiety

The BBC's Orla Guerin in Moscow said there would be renewed anxiety in Russia about the threat of domestic terrorism.

The Kremlin blames Chechen rebels, who have been locked in a bloody war with Moscow since September, for bomb attacks in Russia and Dagestan last autumn which claimed some 300 lives.

One woman emerges from the subway
Blood poured from some people's faces
Russian security has been on high alert, fearing an attack around the time of two anniversaries which fall in August.

On 6 August 1996 rebels captured the Chechen capital Grozny in the first Chechen war - a day they call independence day.

And the first anniversary of renewed hostilities between the Russian army and Chechen rebels comes at the end of the month.

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See also:

08 Aug 00 | Europe
In pictures: Moscow's bomb horror
17 Sep 99 | Europe
The blasts which shook Russia
16 Mar 00 | Europe
Russia charges bombing suspects
20 Sep 99 | From Our Own Correspondent
Fear and hatred in Moscow
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