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Europe

Moscow Metro Blast Kills Dozens

A suicide bomb attack in the Moscow metro during the height of morning rush hour on Friday killed as many as 40 people, according to early estimates. The attack may be the work of Chechen separatist rebels.

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The suicide attack killed as many as 30 people and caused extensive damage.

At least 39 people were killed early Friday morning and more than 120 more injured, when a bomb ripped through the Moscow metro. "We do not exclude that the explosion was caused by a suicide bomber," an interior ministry spokeswoman told the press. The Russian secret service has also reported that a woman was carrying a bomb that detonated in a metro train.

The blast occurred at 8:30 am Moscow time, during the peak morning rush hour, as the train was between the Avtozavodskaya and Paveletskaya stations in southeast Moscow. The bomb had the power of one kilogram (2.2 pounds) of TNT, according to Kirill Mazulin, a spokesman for the Moscow city police at the scene.

Hundreds of others were injured and had to be evacuated by emergency officials as a fire, sparked by the blast, raged.

Chechen Rebels Suspected

The attack is the latest in a series blamed on Chechen rebels who have been fighting for independence. In December, a female suicide bomber blew herself up outside the National Hotel, located in the heart of Moscow just across from Red Square, killing herself and five other people. In July, two other suicide bombers, also women, blew themselves up during an open-air festival at Moscow's Tushino Airfield, killing themselves and 14 others.

This latest incident comes just six weeks before Russia's presidential elections, in which current president Vladimir Putin, who launched the latest offensive against the Chechens, is expected to be re-elected. Putin, who is hosting visiting Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev, said of the attack: "Only by uniting forces, can we deal with terrorism -- this scourge of the 21st century."