Russia steps up anti-terror vigil after train crash

By RIA Novosti

Moscow : Russia’s highest security set up Tuesday ordered heightened vigil across the country in the wake of a suspected bomb attack on a train Monday.

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Chief of the National Anti-Terrorism Committee Nikolai Patrushev asked for additional protection at key facilities and public places.

More than 60 people were injured when a Moscow-St. Petersburg train was derailed half way between the two cities on the country’s busiest rail route. The incident left a crater in the track, and prosecutors were probing a possible terror angle in the accident.

“Anti-terrorist commissions all over Russia must provide comprehensive measures to prevent subversive activities at vulnerable key facilities, including places where there are lots of people,” Patrushev, who is also head of the Federal Security Service, said.

Since the bloody school siege in Beslan in 2004, which officially claimed 331 lives, Russia has not witnessed any major terrorist attacks.

Patrushev said the threat of extremism and terrorism in Russia was still real, even though security forces had managed to reduce levels of subversion in 2006-07.

“The past two months saw an increase in the number of attacks on officials in North Caucasus republics,” Patrushev said.

Russia went through a series of brutal bomb attacks from 1999 to 2004. The federal authorities blamed the militants in Chechnya for the incidents, saying they sought revenge for the Kremlin-led campaigns against separatists in the troubled republic in the 1990s.