Russian police stop man in car wired with land mines and explosives in Moscow

Saturday, September 18th 2004, 11:34 am
By: News On 6

MOSCOW (AP) _ Police stopped a man driving a car wired with land mines and explosives in downtown Moscow early Saturday, Russian security officials said.

The man, detained by Moscow police around 1 a.m., told police he had been paid $1,000 to park two cars with explosives in them along a Moscow street frequently used by top government officials, said the duty officer at the Federal Security Service.

The officer said the man later suffered a heart attack and died while in police custody, but he refused to elaborate.

Police later located a second car in a residential neighborhood in central Moscow and used a water cannon to open it. No explosives were found but residents of nearby buildings were evacuated as a precaution, said the officer, who refused to give his name.

After the man in the first car was stopped, police questioned him and found two land mines and seven ounces of TNT in the car. The mines were connected with wires and had an antenna attached to them.

Russian law enforcement officials are on heightened alert following a string of terrorist attacks over the past month, including the near-simultaneous bombings of two passenger jets, a suicide bombing outside a Moscow subway station and the school hostage-taking in Beslan that ended in a hail of gunfire and explosions.

More than 430 people have been killed in the attacks, with some 338 of those deaths coming during the school massacre.