Grenade attack in Vladikavkaz

An empty car exploded in a southern Russian region after unknown assailants threw a grenade into it, an incident that police blamed on a criminal dispute, officials said. There were no reports of casualties.

The grenade attack was on a car parked near the central market in Vladikavkaz, the regional capital of North Ossetia in Russia's unstable North Caucasus, said Nikolai Ivashkevich, a spokesman for the regional branch of the Emergency Situations Ministry.

He cited Vladikavkaz police as saying that the attack appeared to be a criminal dispute.

An Interfax news agency correspondent who was at the scene shortly after the explosion said the car was not badly damaged, according to the AP.

A series of market explosions have plagued Vladikavkaz in recent years, including a May 1999 bombing that killed 55 people at the central market and a 2001 blast at the same market that killed six.

Two men convicted in the latter bombing allegedly were paid to set it off by rebels from the nearby breakaway republic of Chechnya, where Russian troops have been fighting separatist rebels for nearly six years.

The impoverished region is also plagued by lawlessness.

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