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Breaking News

8 Killed by Moscow Bomb; Several Injured

Aired August 8, 2000 - 11:09 a.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: Want to go back to the breaking story out of Moscow, where at least eight people have died following an explosion in the central part of that city.

Right now on the phone with us, we have our Steve Harrigan.

Steve, what is the latest on this blast?

STEVE HARRIGAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Daryn, the very latest from the Russian Interior Ministry is 18 Russians wounded, eight killed. I am standing here right now in the very center of Moscow, where the blast occurred at Pushkin Square. It is really one of the busiest areas of town. The blast occurred just about one hour ago, at the end of a very busy day here, the end of business.

The explosion happened in an underground passageway. That is something people use to get from one side of a very busy street here to the other. There was the second explosive device found and disarmed by interior ministry troops.

Now, this happened right in the very heart of Moscow. Eyewitness reports say they saw people ran out from the underground passageway, people with torn clothes, burned skin. The blast was heard for hundreds of meters all around. Car alarms going off.

No real explanation yet as to why this happened or who was behind it. Two, of course, obvious possibilities in current Moscow come to mind. One perhaps a business deal gone bad, a contract hit. The other explanation could be a terrorist activity on the part of Chechens. Russia has been at war with Chechnya. For the past year and in recent days, Chechens have been threatening terrorist activity against Moscow. We've seen stepped-up security across Russia, stepped-up security around Moscow.

But certainly if this is a Chechen act, it certainly strikes at the very heart of Moscow -- Daryn.

KAGAN: Steve, tell us more about the location of the blast. You said it's in an underground walkway, central Moscow. I understand it's very close to the Kremlin as well.

HARRIGAN: It is. You can see the Kremlin down the street from here. Basically, it's the main street in Moscow. It's Tverskaya Street. It's the very center of it. It's the place for tourists, where the first McDonald's in Russia was built. It's a park also nearby. It's really a gathering place and a central point in Moscow. A big statue of Pushkin is here as well.

So, really, if you had to pick a target in Moscow where there would be the most people at perfectly the right time, it would be 6:00 p.m. at the end of a work day right here outside of Pushkin Square.

From eyewitness' reports, they've seen tens of people fleeing the scene, bloody, burned, smoke coming out. But as far as official reports go, those numbers hold at 18 people wounded in the hospital and eight Russians dead from this blast just about one hour ago -- Daryn.

KAGAN: You mentioned that officials discovered a second device. Do they think that's it or does the search go on for other possible explosives?

HARRIGAN: The search right now is going on. That second device, according to the Russian Interior Ministry, was diffused. Right now, the scene is somewhat more calm here at Pushkin Square. There's about 2,000 or 3,000 people milling around trying to see, if they can, what has happened, dozens of Russian police cars, ambulances and emergency rescue squads, as well as fire trucks here. But really the noise level and the initial anxiety has died down.

What remains to be scene, really, now is who is behind this, and, if it is a terrorist act in the center of Moscow, what kind of effect that will have on the Russian people, and could it affect their attitudes towards the war that's been going on now for one year? -- Daryn.

KAGAN: And as you said, so far no one has claimed responsibility.

Steve Harrigan in central Moscow bringing us the latest on that blast, as a bomb explodes right in the middle of the city about 6:00 p.m. Moscow time. So far, eight people dead, 18 others injured.

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