Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 137

One person was killed, and 28 injured, eight of them critically, when a bomb exploded on a trolleybus in central Moscow during the morning rush hour. This was the second bombing of a trolleybus in as many days; yesterday’s blast miraculously left only five people injured. Police are calling them terrorist attacks and say that the bomb was of the same type as that used in the previous attack, but stronger. The acts ignited intense — and as yet unsubstantiated — speculation over whether they may have been acts of retribution by Chechen rebels. No group claimed responsibility for the acts, but Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov suggested a possible Chechen link and a Russian general in Chechnya, referring to the rebels, called in the wake of the attacks for a "harsh struggle against this scum." Police were more hesitant to jump to conclusions, admitting only a possible link to yesterday’s explosion.

President Yeltsin told a meeting of the Federal Security Service that "Moscow is littered with terrorists, and we must take tough measures." He also indicated that he had signed an anti-terrorism decree today, but gave no details. Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin has decided to take charge of the investigation, and has asked the police to report all information they receive on the trolleybus bombings to him.

The first blast came only a day after new Kremlin strongman Aleksandr Lebed was given special responsibilities for fighting crime in Moscow. During a news conference after the blast the retired general said he would need more facts to establish who launched the attack, which he described as a "mad and senseless" terrorist action "aimed at raising tensions in the country." Moscow police and Russian security officials reportedly classified the case as a terrorist act, and preliminary findings were said to have indicated that the blast was detonated by a timer device. On June 11 a Moscow subway bomb left four dead and a dozen injured. (Reuter, AP, Itar-Tass July 11-12)

Chechnya Carnage Spreads…