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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Car Bomb Hits Consulates




YEKATERINBURG, Ural Mountains -- A bomb exploded Saturday outside a building that houses the U.S. and British consulates in the Urals city of Yekaterinburg. There were no reports of injuries.


"The building itself has not been damaged but the strength of the blast caused windows to shatter. Nobody was hurt," a spokesman for the local office of the Emergency Situations Ministry said.


Police cordoned off the area and began investigating the explosion, which took place at 5:40 a.m. local time Saturday.


Witnesses at the scene said the explosive was hidden in a bag under a car in a nearby car park and that it had gone off after the car drove away. Police declined to confirm this report and would not speculate about the possible motive.


Federal Security Service spokesman Alexander Zdanovich said the bomb was a homemade device that had been left under a car in a parking lot outside the building.


The explosion left a crater 1 meter deep in the parking lot and blew out windows in the four-story brick building, which also houses the offices of a bank and several businesses.


Zdanovich said police discovered the bomb before it detonated when they heard the timer mechanism ticking. They called in a bomb squad, but it didn't arrive in time, he said.


Although there were no reports linking the attack to the NATO airstrikes, Yekaterinburg Mayor Arkady Chernetsky mentioned the conflict in condemning the bombing, saying, "If anyone thinks they are thereby fighting NATO, they are mistaken."


The U.S. Consulate planned to beef up security following the blast, Interfax reported.


Russia vehemently opposes the NATO attacks, and anti-Western sentiment has been on the rise around Russia. A gunman opened fire at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow in late March, but no one was injured.