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\'Shattered\' Russia mourns metro bombing victims

30 marca, 2010

\'Shattered\' Russia mourns metro bombing victims

Moscow held a day of mourning Tuesday for the 39 people killed in a pair of underground suicide bombings as the Russian authorities faced pressure to prevent a resurgence of deadly militant attacks.

Grieving Russians were adding to huge piles of flowers to commemorate the victims at Moscow\'s Lubyanka and Park Kultury metro stations where the bombings struck Monday morning during the early commuter rush.

Newspapers took the government of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to task for failing to prevent the bombings, which officials have linked to Islamist insurgent groups in Russia\'s volatile North Caucasus.

"Reality has shattered the illusion of security in everyday life," the daily newspaper Vedomosti wrote in an editorial on the strikes, the worst attacks to hit the city in six years.

"In recent years, the authorities and state television have been singing a lullaby to Russians with the thought that terrorism is localised in the North Caucasus and does not threaten ordinary residents," Vedomosti wrote.

Russia\'s FSB security service said the two female suicide bombers who had detonated explosions at crowded stations in central Moscow within 40 minutes of each other had links to the North Caucasus. Related article: Tears and rage as bombers strike heart of Russia

The Moscow city government had declared Tuesday a day of mourning, and state news agencies reported flags would be flown at half mast while television channels and theatres were cancelling entertainment progamming.

The Russian Orthodox Church was expected to hold a vigil for the bombing victims at Christ the Saviour Cathedral, Moscow\'s largest cathedral.

Officials said the death toll rose to 39, not including the two bombers, after a woman died in hospital overnight.

Around 70 more people were wounded in the attacks, including a citizen of the Philippines and two Malaysians.

Police were searching for two women who had accompanied the bombers as well as a possible male accomplice, after identifying them and the bombers through surveillance footage, news agencies reported, citing security sources. Related article: \'Black Widows\' snare Russia in new web of fear

Additional police, some with dogs, were seen in and around Moscow metro stations on Tuesday morning.

Putin -- who had vowed Monday that "terrorists will be destroyed" -- visited a Moscow hospital late in the evening and spoke with victims while wearing a white doctor\'s coat, state television showed.

President Dmitry Medvedev pledged to " find and wipe out" those behind the blasts, calling them "wild beasts."

Western leaders condemned the attacks and offered messages of solidarity with Russia, which has often been criticised in the West for using brutal counter-insurgency tactics in the North Caucasus.

US President Barack Obama called Medvedev and pledged Washington would "help bring to justice those who undertook this attack" while Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called terrorism a "common enemy." Related article: West pledges help after \'hateful\' Moscow attacks

"Whether you are in a Moscow subway or a London subway or a train in Madrid or an office building in New York, we face the same enemy," Clinton said in an interview with the Canadian network CTV.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but the "Caucasus Emirate" group led by Chechen Islamist chief Doku Umarov, said to be behind a November train bombing that killed 28 people, had recently vowed to attack Moscow.

Chechnya, a predominantly Muslim region of the North Caucasus that was the site of two bloody separatist wars after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, has seen rising violence in recent months.

Monday\'s explosions were the deadliest attacks in Moscow since 2004 when the bombing of a metro train killed 41.