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Death Toll Rises Following Uzbek Explosion; Security Alert in Tashkent - 2004-07-31


Authorities in Uzbekistan say a third victim of Friday's terrorist bombings in Tashkent has died.

A security alert is in effect Saturday, in the Uzbek capital. Police reportedly have detained a number of people in connection with the bombings, which targeted the U.S. and Israeli embassies and the chief prosecutor's office.

Two radical Islamic groups claimed responsibility for the attacks in statements posted on the Internet. Uzbek officials say they believe the same extremists who carried out a wave of attacks earlier this year were behind the bloodshed. Fifteen Islamic militants are on trial for the violence in March and April, which killed nearly 50 people.

The three victims of Friday's blasts -- two men killed at the scene and a third who died overnight in a hospital -- were Uzbek government guards or security agents. The nation's interior minister, Zakir Almatov, says the three bombers also died.

Eight people are hospitalized, but all are expected to survive.

President Islam Karimov cut short a vacation in Crimea, on the Black Sea, and returned home after the bombings.