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Scores killed in Moscow bombings -

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Scores killed in Moscow bombings

Broadcast: 29/03/2010

Reporter: Norman Hermant

Two bomb blasts on Moscow's underground metro system have killed over 30 people, with authorities
suspecting the work of suicide bombers.

Transcript

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: At least 36 people have been killed in two explosions on the Moscow metro
system.

Russian authorities say suicide bombers were responsible.

Similar attacks in the past have been blamed on Islamist rebels fighting for independence in
Chechnya.

The bombs went off at two different stations while they were packed with morning rush-hour
commuters.

The ABC's Moscow correspondent Norman Hermant joins us now.

LEIGH SALES: Norm, what do we know about how this attack took place?

NORMAN HERMANT, MOSCOW CORRESPONDENT: Well, it was certainly timed to inflict maximum casualties.
As you mentioned, these attacks took place during the morning peak rush hour commute. The first
bomb went off just before eight o'clock at Lubyanka Station.

That's a station in central Moscow that would have been packed with commuters.

About 40 minutes later, a second bomb went off at Park Kultury Station, a station not far away on
the same line as the first station.

As you mentioned, officials believe both of these attacks were carried out by female suicide
bombers and the latest information we have is that they believe they have remains of the suspected
bombers and may be able to make an identification.

LEIGH SALES: I mentioned before that there are 35 dead. Is there any update to that figure and also
how many people have been injured?

NORMAN HERMANT: Well, that figure has been moving throughout the day. The latest we have now is
that the death toll is up to 37, 65 people are in hospital.

There's not clear word yet how many of those people are in critical condition or how many in
serious condition, so the death toll may change before we know for sure what the final toll is.

LEIGH SALES: What affect is it having on Moscow in terms traffic and communications?

NORMAN HERMANT: Well, Leigh, they say the Russians are a stoic people and certainly you're seeing
signs of that today. It's almost amazing but the metro system itself did not close during these
attacks.

In fact, all the other lines on the metro, which carries of 9 million people a day in this huge
city, stayed open and in fact, authorities have been at great pains to say through the afternoon
that they are about to resume service on the line where the attacks took place.

The destroyed trains will be dragged out of the way and the lines will be put back in service.

As for traffic on the streets, right now it is moving. Traffic in Moscow doesn't move quickly at
the best of times but things seem to have returned to more or less normal activity here and this
afternoon in the full knowledge of what happened this morning, millions and millions of Muscovites
will take the metro home from work.

They simply have no other alternative to get around.

LEIGH SALES: Norm, has anybody claimed responsibility yet for this attack?

NORMAN HERMANT: No, there's been no claim of responsibility but the federal security bureau and
investigators are already pointing the finger, looking very carefully at terrorist groups from the
North Caucasus.

Attacks have taken place in the metro system before in Moscow.

Several high profile attacks by Chechen groups, militant groups from Chechnya that carried out a
bombing attack in Moscow in 2004 that left more than 40 dead on the metro, so they are at the top
of the list of suspects.

Now, one of the motives is, security officials say, perhaps this is revenge for ongoing security
operations in the North Caucasus. In Moscow, in the Kremlin, they like to treat the Chechen war as
being over but a number of analysts say that the security situation down there is deteriorating.

It is not as stable as Moscow has tried to portray it and that the number of militants in the
region may be increasing as well.

There've been a number of high profile, bloody confrontations in Chechnya, in Dagestan, in
Ingushetia, lately and there's a lot of speculation this could be a revenge for those ongoing
operations.

LEIGH SALES: And Norm, briefly, has there been any reaction from the Russian government yet?

NORMAN HERMANT: Well, we've heard both from president Dimitri Medvedev and prime minister Vladimir
Putin.

President Medvedev vowed that the security operations in the North Caucasus will go on, they will
not end.

And Vladimir Putin has said that he is confident who is ever behind this attack will be captured,
detected and, in his words, destroyed, so a lot of strong talking language from the Russian
Government in the wake of this attack.

LEIGH SALES: Norman Hermant, our correspondent in Moscow, thank you very much for bringing us up to
date.