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Russia Observes Day of Mourning After Market Blast

Russia is observing a national day of mourning Friday after at least 17 people are dead and more than 140 others wounded after a suicide bombing at a busy market in North Ossetia.

Stunned residents paid tribute to the victims of Thursday's suicide car bombing in North Ossetia today. Mourners laid flowers in the rubble of the blast as flags flew at half-staff in the stricken city of Vladikavkaz.

Russian officials say a suicide bomber drove up to a market in central Vladikavkaz, with an explosives-packed car, and then detonated himself, sending metal bolts and bars flying into the busy area just before lunchtime.

Russian state television showed blood on the pavement and footage of charred bodies and disfigured faces.

The attack happened in the mainly Christian region of North Ossetia. It was the latest in a string of violence that has plagued Russia's Northern Caucasus region. Russia has been fighting near-daily attacks on police and government officials in the area. Many analysts describe the violence there as a civil war between the Kremlin-backed administrations of the region and Islamist insurgents. Opponents blame the attacks on what they say is the Kremlin's crack down on dissent in the area.

Most notably, the bombing occurred as Muslims in the region were getting ready to celebrate Eid al-Fitr, a holiday marking the end to the fasting month of Ramadan. As a result, many officials say the attack was done to create animosity between Muslims and Christians.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin addressed the issue.

He says no doubt; those people who are responsible for this have no heart, no soul. They have nothing sacred. He says our common task is to fight against these criminals and their crimes. And we count on all Russia's Muslim community will contribute significantly to this cause.

Sheikh Ravil Gainutdin, Chairman of the Council of Russian Muftis agreed that officials should work together to make sure this sort of thing doesn't happen again.

He says he reminds his brothers and sisters that people should keep peace and that they should fight against vice. In no situation should blood to be spilled and innocent people to be killed

This was the second biggest terrorist attack in Russia since twin suicide bombers blew themselves up in Moscow's metro system killing 40.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev promised to capture those responsible for the incident.

He says what has happened is the latest outbreak of a criminal activity of those bandits, with whom there can be no compromise, no truce, nothing else.

Russian officials say they've detained three men suspected of being involved in the attack.