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March 29, 2010

Female bombers kills 38 in Moscow subway

POLITICS - At least 38 people are dead today and another 65+ injured when crowded subways in Moscow were the target of terrorist attacks by two Chechen women. Witnesses at the two stations targeted by the attack say people were trampling each other to get out the dust-choked subways following the explosions.

Chechnya has been fighting for independence from Russia for almost 20 years. The tiny country between the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea has been a hotbed of unrest with routine terrorist attacks targeting Russian politicians and the general populace.

Russia is refusing to negotiate with Chechen rebels. The region does have a large majority of Muslims, but the war they are fighting is not for an Islamic state but simply the right to govern themselves (which makes them similar to the IRA in Ireland or the Separatists in Quebec).

Chechnya declared independence in 1991, but Russia is refusing to acknowledge it as legitimate. They aren't the only ones claiming ownership either. Emir Dokka Umarov of the Caucasus Emirate also claims the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria as a Vilayat (Province). Russia wants the region for itself because of key oil pipelines that pass through Chechnya.

Today's attack and the high death makes it the worst attack on Moscow since February 2004. The fact today's attack was planned and carried out by female bombers suggests these attacks will continue for as long as Russia maintains its presence in Chechnya.

Past Bombings in Moscow Subways

Aug. 31, 2004: Female suicide bomber blows herself up outside the Rizhskaya station, killing 10 people. A little-known Islamic group supporting Chechen rebels claims responsibility. The woman's identity was never confirmed.

Feb. 6, 2004: A suicide bomber from the North Caucasus sets off explosives during morning rush hour on a train traveling between the Avtozavodskaya and Paveletskaya stations, killing more than 40 people and wounding more than 100.

Feb. 5, 2001: Explosives placed under a bench on the platform of the Belorusskaya station go off, wounding 15 people.

Jan. 1, 1998: Homemade bomb explodes in vestibule of Tretyakovskaya station, wounding three people.

June 11, 1996: Homemade bomb explodes on train in tunnel between the Tulskaya and Nagatinskaya stations, killing four people.

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