Dozens injured in blast at Belarus concert

July 4, 2008 12:00 am

, MINSK, July 4 –  Dozens of people were injured in an explosion late Thursday at a gala concert in Minsk attended by Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko, Russian news agencies reported, quoting officials.

"Around 40 people have been injured. There are different types of injuries, some of them heavy, but no one was killed," Interior Minister Vladimir Naumov was quoted by ITAR-TASS news agency as saying on Friday.

Interfax news agency cited health ministry officials saying around 50 people had been hospitalised and quoted witnesses saying they saw a lot of blood and people without fingers and toes in the moments after the blast.

There was no immediate report on whether Lukashenko was at the concert in the centre of the Belarussian capital at the exact time of the blast but ITAR-TASS reported that the president had visited the site after the explosion.

A criminal inquiry has been opened, with Minsk police chief Anatoly Kuleshov telling ITAR-TASS he suspected "hooliganism." Bomb experts were sifting through debris at the scene, Russian news agencies reported.

The massive "We are Belarussians" outdoor concert — where some 2,000 musicians were due to perform — was organised to celebrate Independence Day in ex-Soviet Belarus on July 3.


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