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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Moscow Defends Handling of Blasts

ReutersA young man weeping at the makeshift shrine to the blast victims Tuesday in Tushino.
Flags flew at half-mast across Moscow on a rainy Tuesday as city officials defended their handling of the double suicide bombings at a rock concert that killed 14 people over the weekend.

Inna Svyatenko, a senior member of the city's security committee, told reporters that the authorities decided to let the Krylya rock festival continue to prevent a stampede at the Tushino airfield among the 40,000 attendees.

Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov defended his decision not to cancel the city's annual beer festival, which started Saturday.

"We did the right thing by sending a clear answer to the terrorists that they will not be able to intimidate us or destroy, stop or spoil the city's life," Luzhkov said at a City Hall meeting that began with a moment of silence.

Critics have said the city's actions were potentially dangerous and disrespectful to the victims.

Luzhkov earlier asked that televised entertainment programs and performances at city venues be canceled out of respect for the victims.

Television channels canceled some programs, but the owners of a few nightclubs refused to call off their live performances, RIA Novosti reported.

No one has claimed responsibility for the blasts, and no arrests have been made.

Two of those killed were buried in the Pykhtinskoye and Kurovskoye cemeteries in the Moscow region Tuesday. The others will be buried later this week in Moscow, the Kaluga region town of Kirov and Donsko in the Tula region, Interfax reported.

A 25-year-old woman died in the hospital Tuesday afternoon, bringing the death toll up to 14 plus the two female suicide bombers. Thirty-seven of the more than 50 people injured in the blasts remained in the hospital.

President Vladimir Putin wore a black armband at a meeting with a delegation of French officials in the Kremlin on Tuesday. The delegation, led by Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin and Defense Minister Michele Alliot-Marie, expressed their condolences.

Putin later sat down with legal aides and law enforcement officials to discuss ways of modifying the law to help the authorities cope better with terrorist threats, Interfax reported.

Authorities confirmed Tuesday that one of the two suicide bombers was Zalikhan Elikhadzhiyeva, a 20-year-old resident of the Chechen village of Kurchaloi. Her passport was found near her body. Chechen rebels forced Elikhadzhiyeva to take up arms six months ago to avenge the death of a relative who had fought against federal forces, Kommersant reported Tuesday.

One of the women was carrying a cellphone, and Nezavisimaya Gazeta speculated that the Federal Security Service might be able to use it to determine whether the suicide bombers coordinated the attack with accomplices. A cellphone's SIM card shows who called and at what time.

An accomplice might have used a remote control to detonate the explosives, Rossiiskaya Gazeta reported. Kommersant said the explosives were probably purchased on the black market in Moscow.

Law enforcement officials on Tuesday denied earlier reports that Elikhadzhiyeva might have arrived by plane from the Georgian capital of Tbilisi on Friday, RIA Novesti reported. They said they were investigating whether one of the bombers had traveled to the capital from Ingushetia.