More than 20 killed, 30 hurt
MOSCOW - An explosion hit the Moscow subway system during today's morning rush hour, sending clouds of smoke through the tunnel and killing at least 22 people and wounding 30, the Emergency Situations Ministry said. Several Russian news agencies said the blast was caused by a suicide bomber.A severe fire broke out in the underground train and passengers were being evacuated from Avtozavodskaya station, ministry spokesman Viktor Beltsov said.Beltsov said at least 22 people were killed and 30 wounded, but he could not confirm the cause. He said that rescuers were already on the site, and numerous ambulances could be seen outside the station entrance. Moscow hospitals were put on alert.Russian prosecutors said they could not rule out terrorism, but that it was too early to say definitively. President Vladimir Putin was informed.The explosion occurred in the second car of a train after it left the busy Paveletskaya station near the center of the Russian capital and headed southeast to Avtozavodskaya station, the news agency Interfax reported, citing emergency officials.The car was badly damaged, according to Interfax and ITAR-Tass. Police immediately barricaded the two stations and stopped all traffic on the system, clogging up the capital's streets.The Russian capital has been on alert for terrorist attacks following a series of suicide bombings that officials have blamed on Chechen rebels.

Originally published on February 6, 2004
February 6, 2004, 6:04 AM EST