Blast in Belarussian city injures 30 people (BELARUS)

An improvised explosive device went off in the center of the Belarussian city of Vitebsk late on Thursday, a spokesman for the Belarussian Emergency Situations Ministry told Interfax.


The device, planted in a flowerbed, was stuffed with metal shreds, the spokesman said. According to him, the blast, which occurred near the Eridan cafe on Lenin Street in downtown Vitebsk at about 11:20 p.m. Moscow time, injured 13 people. They got fragmentation wounds and cerebral injuries.

The city's emergency ambulance service said, however, that the number of injured people has reached 30 people. Ten of them have been delivered to the regional hospital and the rest to other medical facilities.

Eyewitnesses said that several people were injured in the belly, head and limbs. Blood and broken glass can be seen on the scene, an Interfax correspondent reports.

High-ranking officials of the Vitebsk police, prosecutor's office and Emergency Situations Ministry have arrived at the scene. Law- enforcers say that no official comments will be made before Friday morning.

It is not the first incident of this kind in Vitebsk. Another blast rocked Svoboda Square on September 14, injuring two people, the spokesman for the Emergency Situations Ministry said. The explosive device was once again planted in a flowerbed.

The local police opened a criminal case on charges of hooliganism. Commenting on the September 14 blast, the Anti-terrorist Center of the Belarussian State Security Committee said that no signs of a terrorist attack can be seen in the incident.

Von: 23 September 2005, Interfax

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