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    EXPLOSION RIPS THROUGH MOSCOW SUBWAY TRAIN

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    MOSCOW, February 6, 2004. (RIA Novosti) -- An explosion ripped through a local subway train at 8.45 a.m. here today; according to preliminary reports, 30 people were killed and over 30 wounded, reports the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry.

    30 people have already requested medical aid; and another 20 were rushed to hospital, the Emergency Situations Ministry reports. The blast occurred on the Zamoskvoretskaya subway line between the Paveletskaya and Avtozavodskaya stations. A major fifth-category blaze erupted after the explosion.

    Talking to RIA Novosti, people at the local civil-defense and emergency-situations department noted that ten search-and-rescue squads were now working at the scene. Those hurt in the blast are currently being evacuated from Paveletskaya subway station. Moreover, passengers are being evacuated from the Paveletsky railroad station.

    Talking to RIA Novosti, Sergei Ignatchenko, chief of the Federal Security Service's public-relations center, noted that a terrorist act seemed quite plausible; however, it's still too early to draw any final conclusions.

    Investigators are now working at the scene; besides, a command center for investigating the blast has been established; the center is headed by Deputy Russian Interior Minister Alexander Chekalin, Ignatchenko went on to say.

    President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation was promptly informed about the tragedy, the presidential press service reports.

    Moscow city prosecutor Anatoly Zuyev, his deputies, as well as an investigation squad from Zuyev's office, are also working at the scene.

    Criminal proceedings might be instituted, after the authorities learn more about the blast and its causes, RIA Novosti learned at the press center of the municipal prosecutor's office.

    Subway bosses, top manager Dmitry Gayev included, are staying at the scene, as well.

    The deep Paveletskaya and Avtozavodskaya subway stations were opened in 1943.

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