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Blast Derails Freight Train in North Ossetia

16 September 2005 -- A blast on a railway line today derailed three wagons of a freight train in Russia's southern republic of North Ossetia.

The blast did not cause any injuries.

Investigators speculated that the explosion could have been intended for a passenger train traveling from the town of Beslan to Nazran, in neighboring Ingushetia, which was to use the same line several hours later. A local passenger train was also due to pass shortly after the blast.

The North Caucasus has been fraught with violence as Chechen rebels battle for independence from Moscow, with refugee flows, terror attacks, and security sweeps claiming many lives in the region.

Also today, an explosive device went off outside an apartment block in Nazran but caused no injuries.

Ingushetia has frequently suffered a spillover of violence from neighboring Chechnya, as well as attacks by its own militants and criminal gangs.

In Beslan, in North Ossetia, more than 300 people died last year after a group of Chechen-led militants took more than 1,100 people hostage in a school in that town.