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|Friday, August 11, 2000, updated at 10:24(GMT+8)|
Chechen Terrorists Behind Recent Moscow BlastA senior Russian defense official said Thursday that terrorists from the breakaway republicof Chechnya were behind the Tuesday blast in central Moscow that killed eight people and injured about 100 others.
"It is a fact that clues from the blast lead to terrorists who are now stationed in Chechnya," said Colonel General Valery Manilov, the first deputy chief of the Russian General Staff.
Manilov said the afternoon rush-hour blast at Pushkin Square, which is not far away from the Kremlin, has the same pattern as similar crimes in other Russian cities.
"This is a pattern of international terrorism which is manifesting itself in other countries as well," Manilov told a press briefing, "Terrorists do not have nationality or religion."
He said the terrorist attack in Moscow is the rebels' latest attempt to force the Russian leadership to agree to negotiations.
Manilov said ringleaders of the Chechen rebels are planning new subversive and terrorist attacks both within Chechnya and outside.
"Acts of terrorism and subversion are the last argument of bandits who are unable to withstand the anti-terrorist operation,"Manilov said.
He was referring to the current military campaign against the Chechen militants launched last summer following two waves of armed Chechen incursions into neighboring Dagestan and a series of apartment bombings that left more than 300 people dead in Moscow and two other Russian cities.
The federal forces have wiped out up to 200 rebels in the past week by reconnoitering rebel concentrations and then delivering artillery strikes, the general said.
The toll in Tuesday's blast rose to eight after a man suffering injuries and burns died Wednesday night. The blast has been the most powerful to hit the capital city so far this year.
No one has claimed responsibility for the attack and law enforcement authorities have not arrested any suspects yet.
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