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14 Dead in Chechnya Explosion - 2004-05-09

A bomb blast in the Chechen capital, Grozny, has torn through a crowded stadium of people observing Sunday's Victory Day Celebrations. Early reports say 14 people have been killed and scores more injured. There are conflicting reports about the fate of pro-Moscow Chechen President Akhmad Kadyrov, who was attending the festivities. Federal investigators are on the scene of the blast picking through debris for clues as to the exact cause of this morning's explosion.

Russian news agencies quote officials of Russia's Emergency Situations Ministry as saying a land mine may be to blame. The blast occurred in a section of the stadium that was reserved for the political and military elite.

There were conflicting early reports as to whether Moscow Chechen President Akhmad Kadyrov had been killed or was among the injured. There was no immediate confirmation of any of the reports.

The Russian commander of joint forces in the North Caucasus, Colonel General Valery Baranov, is also reported to have been critically injured.

President Putin was informed of the blast while attending Victory Day Celebrations in Moscow marking the 59th anniversary of the Soviet Union's defeat of Nazi Germany. In his remarks, prior to the Grozny blast, he said retribution for terrorists was inevitable.