Russia under attack

Car bomb in Russian market kills 18

By Alyssa Tremblay

A suicide car bombing killed 18 people, including an 18-month old baby, and injured more than 100 others in the republic of North Ossetia in Russia last Thursday.

The explosion took place near a busy central market in Vladikavkaz at 11:20 a.m., when a Volga 3102 loaded with “metal bars, bolts and ball bearings” and an explosive device containing “the equivalent of 40 kilograms of TNT” was detonated, according to BBC News.

“We will do all we can to catch these monsters and animals … who have committed a terror attack, a barbaric terror attack, against ordinary people. We will do all we can to find and punish them in accordance with the laws of our country, and we will destroy them if they offer resistance,” Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said in a televised address to the nation.

Victims of the bombing have been airlifted to Moscow to receive top medical treatment.  So far at least one person has died in hospital due to their injuries.
MSNBC reported that an Islamic rebellion group who say they are “determined to bring Russia down” has claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing, their leader calling for more attacks outside the predominately Orthodox Christian North Caucaus.

Russian police have conducted several raids to capture rebels suspected of taking part in the bombing.  These altercations have led to gunfights, resulting in the deaths of at least five alleged militants and three police officers.

This attack in North Ossetia is not an isolated incident.  Over the past few weeks there have been shootings and bombings in other republics in the North Caucaus region as part of an ongoing battle between aggressive Islamic separatists and the Russian government.

Located along Russia’s southern border, North Caucaus is made up of poor, ethnically diverse republics.  In addition, MSNBC stated that “rampant official corruption and alleged extrajudicial killings, kidnappings and torture by law enforcement” have fuelled the violence in this region.

Until now, North Ossetia has mostly been spared from the separatist aggression.  However, the republic’s past has been stained with blood before: in 1999 there was another market area explosion which killed 55 people, and in 2004 it was the scene of the Beslan school atrocity, where militants took hundreds of children hostage, resulting in more than 330 deaths.

In response to this most recent attack, BBC News quoted Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin as saying that “we mustn’t allow” the bombing to cause hostility between different ethnic groups in Russia.

“The people who do this, are people without a soul, without a heart,” Putin said.

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