- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 3, 2003

ROSTOV-ON-DON, Russia (AP) — Two bombs exploded under a commuter train yesterday in southern Russia, killing at least four persons and wounding dozens of others, officials said.

The bombs were planted on the tracks linking Kislovodsk to Mineralnye Vody in the Caucasus region. There were about 50 people in the third car of the six-car train, which was directly hit by the blasts, Railway Ministry spokesman Konstantin Pashkov said.

There were varying reports on the casualty toll.

Dmitry Oliferenko, a spokesman for President Vladimir Putin’s envoy to southern Russia, said five persons were killed, while Russian Railways Minister Gennady Fadeyev said in televised comments that six died — three in the explosions and three others afterward.

But regional Emergency Situations Ministry spokesman Igor Mikhailov said four were killed and 33 were wounded in the explosions as the train was approaching a station in Podkumok, a small town on the outskirts of Kislovodsk, 870 miles south of Moscow.

No group immediately took responsibility for the blasts.

Viktor Kazantsev, Mr. Putin’s envoy to southern Russia, told state television that police had arrested a man suspected of detonating the bombs.

Russia has been rocked recently by numerous bombings and other attacks, which the government usually blames on Chechen rebels.

An officer at the headquarters of the Caucasus Military District, which oversees Chechnya said, on the condition he not be identified, that the military had received intelligence information that the rebels were preparing a series of attacks in southern Russia.

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