A car bomb blast has ripped through a military hospital in southern Russia, and the Interfax news agency says at least 20 people were killed. Many others were wounded.

News reports say there were at least 100 soldiers in the hospital in the town of Mozdok in the Republic of North Ossetia, near the separatist Chechnya region, at the time of the blast, Friday.

Officials from the Emergency Situations Ministry were rushing to the scene to assess the damage.

Mozdok is the main military headquarters for Russian forces fighting Chechen separatist guerrillas. Chechen separatists have been blamed for a series of terrorist attacks on Russian targets.