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Terror attack on the border
Written by   
, 23 2007
Bus explosion on the Kabardino-Ossetian border killsfive
On the administrative border between Kabardino-Balkaria and North Ossetia there was an explosion in an Icarus passenger bus, en route from Pyatigorsk to Vladikavkaz, traveling along the Caucasus federal highway. Fivepassengers were killed as a result of the incident, and 13others received injuries of varying severity. Oneof the major theories about the cause of the explosion, according to the investigation, is that it was a terrorist attack.

The incident occurred on November 22nd at about six in the evening, Moscow time, when the bus passed a highway patrol inspection station between the North Ossetian settlement of Iran and the Kabardino village of Elkhotovo. According to preliminary data, a homemade device consisting of smokeless explosives and metal shrapnel was planted near the rear rightwheel.
The power of the device, according to various estimates, ranged from 300to 500grams of TNT.

There were 17persons inside the bus at the time of the explosion, after which the bus immediately caught fire. Fourpassengers died on the spot, while another one died of his injuries later in a hospital. Awoman underwent surgery, and five of the injured were soon discharged. Physicians rated the conditions of the remaining seven injured as stable. Three of the dead were identified as 9-year-old Svetlana Pliyeva, 24-year-old Khazbi Gabisov, and 32-year-old Alevtina Bitiyeva. Identification of the two remaining bodies is difficult because they were badly burned, and their identity is being determined through DNA analysis.

The head of North Ossetia, Teimuraz Mamsurov, agreed to pay monetary compensation to the families of the slain, as well as the injured. Hewill also assist with medical care and funerals. Theamount has not been determined at this time.
A criminal case was initiated under Penal Code articles 205(terrorism), 105(murder) and 222(illegal possession of explosives). Theincident will be investigated in both Kabardino-Balkaria and North Ossetia. Thecase was received by the Main Investigation Department of the Southern Federal District, since the incident occurred on the administrative border between the two republics.

The prosecutor's office already has a number of suspects, and work is ongoing. Thedriver told operatives that the bus had stopped in Kabardino-Balkaria near the village of Malka, and that six young men, who seemed suspicious to the driver, entered the bus. Themen left at Nalchik, and a half-hour later the explosion occurred. Itis worth noting that according to unofficial information law enforcement sources in Kabardino-Balkaria have already identified some of these young people, but do not suspect them of involvement in the explosion.

On board the bus was another suspicious man, according to other passengers. Hegot on in Nalchik, behaved rather strangely, moving from one seat to another, then later left the Icarus bus in Kabardino-Balkaria, leaving behind his bag. Operatives made a composite sketch of him, and are conducting a search.

However, as stated by the prosecutor in North Ossetia, Herman Stadler, definitive conclusions about the cause of the explosion will be announced when the work of explosives specialists is finished. According to him they are currently testing three theories of what happened.

In connection with the blast, security in North Ossetia has been stepped up. Inparticular, protection of the administrative boundaries at all entrances to the republic has been stepped up, and inspection activities are being conducted. Significant numbers of law enforcement officers have been tasked with the search for suspects in the terrorist attack.

Several Ossetian MPs suggested that the bus bombing was a provocation to destabilize the situation in the republic on the eve of federal parliament elections. Intheir opinion, however, the incident does not indicate that North Ossetia is a 'hot spot'. The situation in the country is normal and stable, said MP Arsen Fadzayev. But no one is safe from acts of terrorism. Itcan happen in any country.
There is also some speculation that the explosion of the Icarus bus in North Ossetia was related to the terrorist attack in Tolgyatti, which occurred on October 31st. Atthe time there was an explosion of a passenger bus during morning rush hour that killed eight and injured more than 50. Investigators, however, are not yet inclined to link the two incidents.

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