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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Hospital Explosion Victims Mourned

VLADIKAVKAZ, North Ossetia -- Soldiers and civilians in North Ossetia observed a day of mourning Monday in honor of the victims of a deadly suicide truck bombing that killed 50 people at a military hospital.

Officials dedicated a memorial stone at the ruins of the military hospital, which was destroyed Friday when a truck packed with explosives crashed through the hospital gates and exploded.

"Those who think that they can bring us to our knees with such atrocities are deeply mistaken," Colonel General Vladimir Boldyrev, the chief of the North Caucasus Military District, said during a ceremony, his voice tense with emotion. "We will avenge that, we will kill the bandits always and everywhere until we have killed them all."

A spokesman for the Prosecutor General's Office in the North Caucasus said Monday that the authorities suspect Chechen rebel warlord Shamil Basayev of masterminding the attack on the military hospital in Mozdok, a city that serves as a staging ground for the war in Chechnya.

Funerals for the victims of Friday's blast began Sunday and continued Monday. In Moscow, the Cabinet allocated compensation payments to families of the victims and for those who were wounded in the attack.

Sixty-four victims remained hospitalized, many in grave condition.

In Vladikavkaz, flags flew at half-staff over government buildings. Workers and military units began their day by observing a moment of silence for the victims of the attack.

Security was tightened throughout the region, with police patrols placed around hospitals and public facilities. Troops sealed off the main military hospital in Vladikavkaz, barring all nonmilitary visitors from entering the building.

Federal Security Service chief Nikolai Patrushev said Monday on a trip to southern Russia that his service had "general" information prior to the explosion about a possible attack, but no specific tips. He and other officials criticized lax security at the hospital.

In a meeting with officials late Sunday, Putin castigated the authorities for negligence, saying that "the laxity that we have seen in a series of cases, and which is conducive to crimes and terrorist acts, has gone beyond all bounds."