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Wednesday, 9 August, 2000, 23:10 GMT 00:10 UK
Muscovites fear more blasts
Russian securityman
Security has been tightened on the underground system
By Steven Rosenberg in Moscow

The bomb which ripped through a packed underpass in central Moscow has raised fears that Russia's capital could once again become a target for terrorists.

The city's Mayor, Yuri Luzhkov, has warned Muscovites to be vigilant.

It's the Chechens for sure - they're trying to get their revenge!

Moscow resident
The bombers, he says, could strike at any moment.

Less than a year after a wave of terrorist attacks across the city left hundreds dead, Muscovites once again feel defenceless and under threat.

False alarms

On Wednesday night, police received over 500 calls from terrified residents reporting what they believed were suspicious people and packages.

They all turned out to be false alarms.

And on Thursday, there were bomb scares at a Moscow railway station and at the head office of one of the country's largest banks.

Shoppers at a Moscow market
People feel defenceless and under threat
A phone-in show on one of Moscow's most popular radio stations - devoted to the Pushkin Square explosion - was inundated with calls expressing fear and anger.

Most callers blamed the police for not doing enough to protect the population.

The police claim to be doing all they can to keep the situation under control.

Tbey are searching lorries and cars, cellars and attics, and are making random checks of people's documents on the street.

Security problems

But Moscow is a huge city and it is almost impossible to stop the most determined criminal.

Moscow is, of course, no stranger to terrorist attack. Four years ago, there was a series of bomb blasts in trolleybuses across the city. One device was detonated on an underground train.

Security check
Police are trying to prevent any further blasts
Last year, an explosion in an underground shopping centre near the Kremlin was followed by devastating blasts in apartment blocks.

In each case, the authorities blamed Chechen rebels, locked in a bitter fight with the Russian army.

Despite the lack of evidence, most Russians are willing to believe that it is the Chechen fighters who are behind the attacks.

"It's the Chechens for sure!" cried one woman this evening in the Pushkin Square underpass. "They're trying to get their revenge!"

Whether or not that is true, the people of Moscow are bracing themselves for more explosions.

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16 Mar 00 | Europe
Russia charges bombing suspects
09 Aug 00 | Europe
Police hunt Moscow bombers
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