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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Large Bomb Found in Pyatigorsk

A powerful bomb was found and defused in the main department store of a southern resort city, officials said Friday.

The device, made of 1.5 kilograms of explosives and a clock mechanism, was discovered by workers Thursday evening inside a purse left at the store in Pyatigorsk, a resort in the Caucasus Mountains region.

Deputy regional prosecutor Svetlana Pereponova said explosion of such a bomb could destroy the department store and damage the buildings around it, Interfax reported.

Although Pyatigorsk is located close to the breakaway republic of Chechnya, officials said they could not blame the attempted bombing on Chechen rebels, and sent the explosive device to Moscow for examination, Interfax reported.

But in the central Russian town of Penza, police said the source of the homemade bomb found on a busy street was Chechnya or restive regions in Central Asia, Itar-Tass reported Friday.

The bomb, which was discovered by passersby and later defused, contained gun powder stuffed into the body of a hand grenade fitted with a fuse.

"Our men are now trying to find out how the bomb happened to be on the pavement of a busy street," said regional police chief Alexander Pronin.

"We are very much concerned over such incidents. We know that arms and explosives mostly come to Penza region from the so-called hotbeds of tension in Central Asia and Chechnya."