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Saturday, September 18, 1999 Published at 19:45 GMT 20:45 UK

World: Europe

Bombed Moscow flats demolished

Parts of it were unharmed, but the building was unsafe

Demolition experts have levelled a nine-story Moscow block of flats which was badly damaged in a suspected terrorist bombing earlier this month.

Terror in Russia
  • Who is to blame?
  • What Russia can do
  • Timeline: The blasts which shook Russia
  • Hundreds of emotional relatives of the 93 people killed in the bombing, along with residents who survived the attack, watched as the sprawling apartment complex in southeast Moscow sank to the ground.

    The 9 September attack collapsed a middle section of the building, leaving two flanking sections standing but unsafe. They were demolished with the aid of explosives placed in several thousand holes bored into the foundations.

    A neighbouring building, which suffered minor damage in the bombing, was also destroyed.

    FBI on its way

    Four Russian apartment blocks have been hit by a wave of bombings in recent weeks that have claimed about 300 lives.

    The BBC's Stephen Dalziel: FBI will be able to offer definite assistance
    Authorities believe they were terrorist acts, and have linked them to Islamic militants in the republics of Chechnya and neighbouring Dagestan, where rebels have been battling Russian forces for weeks.

    An FBI team is flying to Russia to assist in the investigation. The FBI officials will try to help the Russian security services identify what kind of explosive devices have been used.

    Search for bombers

    Security forces are maintaining a high profile on the streets of Moscow following the recent spate of bomb attacks.

    Two men suspected of involvement in the bombings are in police custody.

    [ image: Residents and victims' relatives watched the demolition]
    Residents and victims' relatives watched the demolition
    A spokesman for the Federal Security Service, Russia's main intelligence agency, said they had been identified as Timur Dakhkilgov, 32, and Bekmars Sautiyev, 40, two relatives originally from Chechnya.

    Russian police have been conducting identity checks, apparently concentrating on people whose appearance suggests Caucasian origins.

    More than 10,000 people were reported to have been stopped and searched or questioned on Friday.

    Civilians have also begun organising regular patrols to search for suspicious packages and to question strangers.

    Funerals were held on Saturday for four of the 17 people killed in the latest blast, which occurred in the southern city of Volgodonsk on Thursday.

    Sixty-nine people are still in hospital, two in critical condition.

    Meanwhile, police announced on Saturday that an explosive containing TNT was the cause of Thursday's blast in a St Petersburg apartment building.

    Authorities say that explosion was not, however, linked to the terrorist attacks.

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