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Moscow blasts: Toll reaches 39 as Russia mourns
Moscow, MAR 30 (IANS/Agencies)
Published on 31 Mar. 2010 12:24 AM IST
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A woman has died in a clinic from wounds suffered in the double suicide bombing of the Moscow subway, officials said Tuesday, raising the death toll to 39 as the country entered a day of mourning.
Five people remain in critical condition out of 71 hospitalized after the blasts that were blamed on Chechen rebels, city health department official Andrei Seltsovsky told the Rossiya-24 state news channel. Only eight victims had been formally identified, he said.
The preliminary investigation found that female suicide bombers detonated belts of explosives during the Monday morning rush-hour at two central Moscow subway stations. It was the first terrorist activity in the Russian capital for years.
Flags flew at half staff on government buildings and at the Kremlin as a day of national mourning began. Entertainment events and shows on television were cancelled. Services were to be held at several churches.
Moscow blasts: Plotters a part of Af-Pak network?Heightened transportation security remained in effect across the capital and in cities across Russia. Police with machine guns and sniffer dogs patrolled subway entrances.
Monday's first explosion took place just before 8 a.m. at the Lubyanka station in central Moscow, beneath the notorious headquarters of the Federal Security Service or FSB, the KGB's main successor agency. The FSB is a symbol of power under Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, a former KGB officer who headed the agency before his election as president in 2000.
About 45 minutes later, a second blast hit the Park Kultury station on the same subway line, which is near the renowned Gorky Park. In both cases, the bombs were detonated as the trains pulled into the stations and the doors were opening.
Debate raged in the Russian media as to the exact motive for the attacks. Newspapers speculated that the blasts were retaliation for the recent killing of militant leaders in the North Caucasus by Russian police.
'Moscow bombers could be linked to AfPak terror network'
Plotters of the twin suicide blast at Moscow subway stations that killed several people could have links with the terror network based in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region, Russia said on Tuesday.
The deadly blasts in the subway could have been organised with support from abroad, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said.
"I do not rule this out, nothing can be ruled out here," he said.
The minister said that Moscow "is well informed about the so-called no-man's land on the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan," where "the terrorist underground has entrenched itself".
"We know that many terrorist attacks - not only in Afghanistan, but in other countries too - are plotted in that area... Sometimes, the trail leads to the Caucasus," he said and urged the global community to coordinate efforts in the fight against international terrorism and its financial sponsors.
Two female suicide bombers attacked the Lubyanka and Park Kultury stations of the Sokolnicheskaya subway line during the morning rush hour Monday. The first blast occurred at 8:00 a.m. (0930 IST) and the second about 40 minutes later.
Hundreds call for psychological help
Hundreds of alarmed people called a Moscow psychiatric institute following two terrorist attacks in the Moscow subway, a spokesman for the institute said Tuesday.
Twin blasts occurred during the rush hour in one of the world's busiest transport systems Monday morning, killing at least 39 people and injuring around 70.
The first attack took place at around 8 a.m. at the Lubyanka station near the former KGB headquarters, which now houses the Federal Security Service. The second bomb detonated some 40 minutes later four stops along the line at Park Kultury station, which is within walking distance of the Kremlin.
After the blasts, the Moscow Serbsky Institute for Social and Forensic Psychiatry opened a hotline for relatives of the victims and those affected. Some 200 calls were received during the first few hours after the line opened, and around 600 people have called the institute for psychological assistance over the past 24 hours.
'Before, people mostly called for information about their relatives, now they turn to us with fears and concerns,' Anna Portnova from the Serbsky Institute said. She said many of those who called the hotline said they were afraid of using the subway. Others asked where they could donate blood for the people injured in the blasts. The number of passengers in the Moscow underground significantly decreased Monday following the attacks.
Despite increased security across the network, the evening rush hour saw the usually overcrowded metro carriages half empty as many people stayed away. Psychologists have urged people not to be afraid of using the metro as the probability of an individual being the victim of a terrorist attack is very low.

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