9 MAY 2002: AT LEAST 41 DEAD AS TERRORISTS STRIKE WORLD WAR TWO VICTORY DAY PARADE

Zuriat Gidayatova, age 5, with her mother, Laura, in the hospital in Kaspiak, Russia, after a bomb explosion killed 41 people, 17 of them children.

Full picture from detail at left. Children's bodies lie in the street after terrorists bombed a parade. At least 34 were killed, including 12 children, and 130 were hospitalized.

Investigators clear the scene of instruments carried by members of a Russian military band.

Source: Michael Wines, New York Times, Section A, page 1, 10 May 2002 and Section A, page 6,
13 May 2002.

Photo from Russian TV showing children's bodies in the streets after a terrorist attack.

 

A terrorist's bomb, stuffed with bolts and nails, killed at least 41 people and wounded at least 130 during a parade in a small Russian town. Among the dead were 17 children, and 30 children were wounded.

The parade, like others throughout Russia commemorated the defeat of Nazi Germany. Marchers in the parade including World War II veterans, children, and a military band.

Witnesses told The New York Times reporter that the band was headed for military cemetery where wreaths were to be laid.

President Vladimir Putin said the attack showed the world must unite against terror as it did to defeat the Nazis.

"This crime was committed by scum who hold nothing sacred," Putin said from Moscow. "But we have the right to regard them as Nazis, whose purpose is to sow death and kill. During the years of the Great Patriotic War, people went to war to kill scum, and it was destroyed. And however difficult the problems that Russia faces today, we will solve them."

In the United States, President Bush said he was saddened and angered by the attack. "Of particular concern is that this evil act of terrorism occurred on a holiday when Russia celebrates its World War II victory over fascism, and at a time when our nations are allied once again in a war against global terror."

It was the deadliest terror attack in Russia since September 1999 when bombs in Moscow apartment complexes killed more than 300 people.

Video footage broadcast showed blood-soaked victims, body parts, and wrecked musical instruments.

The explosion occurred at around 9:40 a.m. One eyewitness told the Russian NTV television network: "I was standing by the window. The musicians were coming, playing Victory Day. Then suddenly, there was such an explosion. You couldn't see anything. It was dark. Little children had been running alongside them—it was such a happy scene. Then there  were  corpses, corpses, flesh, flesh."

An witness was reduced to single word descriptions through her tears. She told the ORT television network, "It was horrible. Children. Young men. Sailors. The orchestra. Drums. Horns."

Map: The New York Times

Just before the explosion, Laura Gidayatova was at a nearby outdoor market selling flowers to people who would place them on graves of World War II veterans.

Ms. Gidayatova heard the blast and thought nothing of it until a neighbor arrived, carrying clothes belonging to Ms. Gidayatova's five year-old daugher, Zuriat.

"They were soaked in blood," Ms. Gidayatova told the Times two days after the event. "I said, 'Where is she?' and she said, 'She's in the hospital.'"

Zuriat's face and chest had been sprayed with shrapnel. She was taken to a hospital with other victims. Among them was Anwar Gasanov, 14, who had been waiting with friends to join the parade. One of his friends was killed on the spot. A second lost a leg and died hours later.

"The person who did this," Anwar's mother, Kistaman Gasanova, "could not have been born of a mother."

Virtually every class at every local school had been assigned a role in the Victory Day parade.

"For us, after our great Soviet Union has fallen apart, this is the only day we hold dear," said Murtuz Murtazliyev, a local school official at the bomb scene. "Every class is schooled in this. And every class prepared wreaths and flowers.

"Those wreaths and flowers were meant for soldiers' graves," he said. "Now they are here."  

The Times reported: "The symbolism of both the bombers' military target and their timing was unmistakable. May 9, Victory Day, is an almost sacred holiday here, a celebration of Russian military might and of the war against Hitler, which Russians call the Great Patriotic War. Mr. Putin has sought to cloak the Chechnya conflict in the same patriotic trappings. Twice in the last year or so, he has declared Russian troops victorious and announced plans to withdraw forces or turn more of the military duties over to local police and militia....Nevertheless, the conflict has continued to grind on. It claims anywhere from a handful to a score of Russian troops and pro-Russian police each week."