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Russia: Yeltsin Condemns Terrorism In Cemetery Bomb Killing

Moscow, 11 November 1996 (RFE/RL) - Russian President Boris Yeltsin today condemned a bomb attack by gangland bombers as "terrorism" as Russia ordered special teams to find the killers of 13 people at a Moscow cemetery yesterday.

Yeltsin, recovering from last-week's quintuple heart bypass operation, offered his condolances to families of the victims in a statement released by his press office. He also said he had ordered authorities to investigate the "bloody crime."

Police authorities said the killing was linked to a longstanding feud between two rival branches of the five-year-old charity Afghan War Invalids' Foundation, set up to help disabled victims of the Afghan war.

Russia's lower house of parliament today demanded an inquiry into the funding of the charity and demanded the parliamentary Veterans' committee to investigate the tax breaks it receives. Like several other charitable groups, the Afghan Veterans Foundation is also seen as a rich prize by the Russian mafia, as it is allowed to import commodities, such as alcohol and cigarettes, tax-free.

The Moscow prosecutor's office said the attack was being probed as terrorism and Interior Minister Anatoly Kulikov said he was taking special charge of the hunt.