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Moscow blasts suggest Islamic insurgency is growing in Russia

Moscow blasts suggest Islamic insurgency is growing in Russia

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From the The Wall Street Journal. By RICHARD BOUDREAUX

MOSCOW—Suicide-bomb blasts that killed 38 people in two Moscow subway stations brought the specter of southern Russia's Muslim insurgency back to the capital Monday, exposing flaws in what the Kremlin has often termed a successful antiterrorist strategy.

Officials said preliminary investigation indicated both blasts were set off by women with links to the country's North Caucasus region. Militants there, largely subdued in Chechnya, have spread into nearby republics in recent years, seeking to turn them into bases for strikes into the Russian heartland.

Monday morning's rush-hour blasts, in subway cars four stations and 40 minutes apart, confronted Muscovites with images of terror their city hadn't experienced in six years—dazed passengers holding their heads in despair, choking in smoke-filled tunnels, "They happened at a time when there would be the maximum number of victims," Mayor Yury Luzhkov said.

The Federal Security Service, successor agency to the Soviet-era KGB, appeared to be a symbolic target. The first bomb exploded in the Lubyanka station below the headquarters of the agency, which has helped lead a harsh crackdown in the Caucasus. The massive compound on Lubyanka Square also once housed an infamous KGB prison.

Lubyanka and the other targeted station, Park Kultury near Gorky Park, are on the red line that runs near the Kremlin.

Officials said the force of each blast, detonated in the stations with the train doors open, was equivalent to about 6.6 pounds of TNT and caused deaths in the subway cars and on the platforms. At least 23 of the fatalities occurred at Lubyanka. A total of 67 people were hospitalized for injuries, officials said.

No group claimed responsibility for the attacks...

Read full article at The Wall Street Journal (may require subscription).

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