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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Blast Rattles FSB Office, Injuring 3




A powerful bomb exploded early Sunday at a downtown office of Russia's Federal Security Service, or FSB, injuring three people and shattering dozens of windows on Kuznetsky Most.


An FSB spokesman said in a telephone interview Monday that his service has already "determined a circle of suspects." The spokesman, who wouldn't identify himself, said no arrests have been made so far.


The explosion, which had a force equivalent to about one kilogram of TNT, occurred right at the service's public reception office at Kuznetsky Most, Dom 22 at around 3:20 a.m.


A police patrol officer and a passer-by suffered cuts in the blast which blew off windows in buildings along the entire street and seriously damaged the fa?ade of the FSB office.


The explosion did not damage the main FSB headquarters on Lubyanskaya Ploshchad, several hundred meters away.


An FSB officer on guard inside the office was slightly injured by the shock wave of the blast. The blast damaged furniture and equipment inside the office and punched a 250-square centimeter crater in its front wall.


A source in the service's Moscow area directorate, which is investigating the Sunday blast as a case of terrorism, said the explosion was most likely a "demonstrative action."


He said several leads are being pursued, including the possibility that such an action could have been ordered by an organized crime grouping, or by terrorists trained by the Chechen field commander Khattab.


State Duma speaker Gennady Seleznyov was quoted by Itar-Tass as saying on Sunday that the blast is "an example of the criminal debauchery that is already challenging power agencies."


The FSB source said he could not rule out a link between the Sunday blast and an explosion of some 150 grams of TNT outside the office last year. Those who staged that explosion on August 18 are also yet to be caught.


Mysterious explosions seem to happen in Moscow during periods of political turmoil, such as now, with elections approaching, war in the Balkans, and tension between the Kremlin and the cabinet. There were several unsolved metro and bus bombings in 1996 during the presidential election campaign and the war in Chechnya.


The officer said the Sunday bomb was most likely planted on the pavement outside the office.


The very fact that FSB detectives have failed to find the bomb's detonator proves that the bomb was made so professionally that the blast simply destroyed the detonator.


It remains unclear how someone could have slipped past video cameras, installed both at the reception office as well as at a bank and a fashion store nearby, to plant the bomb.


Alexander Pikayev, a national-security expert at the Moscow Carnegie Center, said the service was apparently careless enough to maintain no agents around the office despite repeated threats by Chechen field commanders to avenge compatriots killed in the 1994-96 war there.


He said the Sunday blast dealt a "serious blow" to the FSB's reputation as a fearsome, untouchable organization.


The reception office, which is supposed to remain open 24 hours a day, resumed operations at 9 a.m. on Monday with its windows still covered with plywood.


Only one officer, dressed in traffic police uniform, could be seen patrolling the area around the office on Monday afternoon. Inside, several visitors were busy writing appeals to FSB Director Vladimir Putin, watched by several officers of the service.