Moscow, Nov 23 (UNI) At least five people have been killed and 13 others injured in a passenger bus bomb blast in Russia's Republic of North Ossetia, Russia Today TV reported today.
A nine-year-old girl was among the dead.
Russian police are treating yesterday's blast as a terrorist attack, a police source said.
The bomb went off at 0830 hrs IST as the bus was travelling from Vladikavkaz in North Ossestia to the neighbouring city of Pyatigorsk.
Those injured were immediately rushed to a nearby hospital, where they were being treated for wounds and severe stress.
Police say the bomb, which detonated as the bus was stopped at a traffic police checkpoint, was packed with nails and metal pieces.
An explosive device was found in the back of the mangled bus.
Sources said two men got off the bus a few minutes before it arrived at the checkpoint and they might have left the explosive device.
It is believed that there were around 19 people on the bus, including two drivers, at the time of the blast.
''Initial reports by explosives experts indicate that the bomb contained the equivalent of 300 grams of TNT,'' the source told RIA Novosti news agency.
In September 2004, armed terrorists attacked School 1 in the nearby Ossetian town of Beslan, which resulted in the death of 334 people, most of them children, as the school building collapsed and burned to the ground after several explosions.
In October 2005, more than 200 armed terrorists attempted to take control of several government buildings in the Kabardino-Balkar capital of Nalchik.
Yesterday's tragedy was the second explosion on a bus in recent weeks, following a blast in the southern city of Togliatti that killed 8 people and left 50 injured on October 31.
Ahead of the December 2 parliamentary elections in Russia, authorities have issued warnings about the possibility of terrorist attacks in the weeks leading up to the polls to trigger instability.