Two small explosions damage stores in Russian city

AP Worldstream
Oct 04, 2004

Two small explosions damaged stores overnight in the city of
Yekaterinburg in the Ural Mountains, regional police said Monday. No
one was injured.

The explosions went off about 30 minutes apart outside two Italian
clothes shops located about two kilometers (one mile) from each other,
said the press service of Yekaterinburg's regional Interior Ministry.

Russia's NTV television broadcast footage of broken glass and damaged
storefronts, and said the explosive devices contained about 200 grams
(seven ounces) of TNT.

The stores were both privately owned by different people in the city,
about 1,500 kilometers (935 miles) east of Moscow, Ekho Moskvy radio

Regional police said the explosions appeared to be linked to a dispute
between rival criminal gangs made up of ethnic Russians and people
from the ex-Soviet republics of Armenia and Azerbaijan in the Caucasus
mountains. But members of the Armenian Diaspora denied any involvement
and called the explosion an attempt to whip up interethnic tension.

Russian media said investigators were on the scene and that all
possible motives were being considered.

Criminal and commercial disputes in Russia have often led to bombings,
arson attacks and even killings.