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Suspect detained in McDonald's blast inquiry

: Irina Petrakova  

A 27-year-old resident of Chechnya has been detained by Moscow law enforcers on suspicion of having carried out the October 19 car bomb attack on a McDonalds restaurant. One person was killed and seven others injured. So far, no criminal charges have been brought against the detainee, but in the light of the recent events in Moscow, the prosecutors office does not rule out that the explosion may have been a terrorist attack.

City law enforcers earlier denied any links to terrorism, claiming the blast on a showdown between members of criminal gangs.

On Friday the first deputy prosecutor of Moscow Yuri Sinelshchikov reported that the first suspect behind the McDonalds blast had been detained. According to Sinelshchikov, the suspect is a 27-year-old, born in Chechnya, whose name authorities would not divulge in the interests of the investigation.

Moreover, the prosecutors office refuses to provide more details regarding the circumstances of his arrest, saying that some of his accomplices are still at large. Investigators are sure that the detained man was among those who perpetrated the October 19 blast.

Sinelshchikov did not rule out that criminal investigation launched into what was initially qualified as a murder attempt, might be re-defined as terrorism.

Investigators assumed that the explosion could have occurred either as a result of a showdown between criminal gangs, or it could have been a terror attack. Earlier, city prosecutor Mikhail Avdyukov said that one of the theories examined by the investigators was that the owners of McDonalds were in a dispute with criminal entities. The head of the chief city police directorate Vladimir Pronin echoed Avdyukovs view.

According to Pronin, the explosion was ''a criminal showdown with the use of terrorist methods and means''. For his part, the head of McDonads-Russia Khamzat Khasbulatov refuted the theory, saying he has never had any ties with criminal structures.

Nevertheless, the terrorist act version, earlier discarded by law enforcers, has resurfaced in the light of the recent events in Moscow.

On October 19 a Ukrainian-made Tavria car exploded outside a McDonalds restaurant in southwest Moscow. 7 people, including a 5-year-old girl, were injured in the blast. One of them, a 17-year-old boy died the following day in hospital. Police investigators said the bomb had been packed with shrapnel and metal fragments in order to maximize the damage.

25 17:32


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