Dozens of people die in lorry bomb attack on Russian military hospital in Mozdok
Ruslan Isayev, North Caucasus, morning August 2 - Over thirty people died and more than 70 other were seriously injured when a lorry packed with explosives crashed into the Russian military hospital in the North Ossetian town of Mozdok and blew up on Friday evening.
The explosion completedly destroyed the building. Some 120 ill and injured Russian servicemen are believed to have been there at the time of the blast.
After several hours firefighters managed to put out the fire which started after the explosion. Subsequently, the Emergiencies Ministry's staff managed to get 34 people out of the wreckage. Four of the rescued died on the way to hospital. Another five of them are in a critical condition.
According to a source of the North Ossetian Health Ministry, about 300 other people were slighly injured in the incident as they were in the immediate vicinity of the blast. Most of them were cut by flying glass.
The Mayor of Mozdok, Georgiy Adamov, said that the servicemen of the Interior Ministry troops as well as the staff of the Emergencies Ministry of the neighbouring republic of Kabardino-Balkariya have been searching through the wreckage all night.
Every hour a minute of silence is being declared on the spot as the rescuers are trying to identify places where victims of the attack could survive. However, there is very little chance that people could stay alive beneath the ruins, the rescue workers say.
The place of the tragedy has been cordoned off by the police and military. An operative group consisting of members of special services and the prosecutor's office was working on the place during the whole the night. They found out that the power of the explosion was equivalent to a tonne of TNT.
The blast made a crater 3 metres deep and over 5 metres in diameter. The shock wave smashed almost all windows in the neighbourhood. The explosion was felt in all parts of the town and many people, fearing more blasts are to come, spent several hours in the street before they got home.
Thus far no one has claimed responsibility for the attack. However, no one doubts that they were Chechen guerilla fighters because the hospital provided treatment to Russian servicemen who were injured during their service in Chechnya. The terrorist act might be carried out by Chechen guerillas in revenge for the operations of Russian federal forces in Chechnya, journalists were told by Sergey Fridinsky, Deputy Prosecutor General for the Southern Federal Region.
According to the latest information, the total death toll of the attack rose to 50. The editors.