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Russia: Bomb Kills 58 In North Caucasus

Moscow, 19 March 1999 (RFE/RL) - Russian emergency officials say 58 people were killed and more than 100 injured in a bomb explosion today at a market in the southern Russian city of Vladikavkaz, the capital of North Ossetia in Russia's volatile North Caucasus region. Footage broadcast on Russian's NTV television showed bloodied bodies, damaged cars and destroyed stalls strewn across the outdoor market. Bodies were rushed to ambulances in vegetable carts.

A Kremlin spokesman said President Boris Yeltsin has ordered Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov to launch an investigation into the blast. Yeltsin also dispatched Interior Minister Sergei Stepashin to Vladikavkaz to personally oversee the investigation.

A spokesman for the Federal Security Service, General Alexander Zdanovich, said the atttack was "a clear terrorist act intended for a big public shock." Local officials say the death toll is likely to grow.