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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

5 Killed in Vladikavkaz Explosion

Five people died and some 60 were injured in an explosion in a busy outdoor market in the southern city of Vladikavkaz on Saturday.

Police initially said the explosion was caused by a faulty natural gas container being used to cook meat on an outdoor grill, but the power of the blast led investigators to conclude it was a bomb placed near the grill.

Local officials said the bomb blast was likely an act of terrorism, possibly aimed at destabilizing the situation in North Ossetia.

The republic, which borders Chechnya, is to elect a new president in two months.

"It was an explosive device that was placed near a gas container with about a kilogram of dynamite," said Lev Dzugayev, an assistant to North Ossetian President Alexander Dzasokhov.

A North Ossetian Interior Ministry spokesman said the device was "filled with additional destructive elements" and may have been detonated by remote control.

Dzasokhov said a criminal case has been opened and that four people have been detained in the investigation.

The market is located on the outskirts of the city, where tensions are already high after a man armed with grenades burst into a children's clinic on Oct. 30 and took 19 people hostage before releasing them and fleeing.

(AP, Interfax)