Belarus Prez Links Subway Blast to 'Foreign Plot'

Opposition fears crackdown after bomb kills 12
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 12, 2011 2:22 AM CDT
Updated Apr 12, 2011 2:59 AM CDT
A blast victim's body lies on a stretcher near Oktyabrskaya subway station in Minsk yesterday.   (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
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(Newser) – The autocratic leader of Belarus says he thinks a deadly subway blast in the capital was an attempt to destabilize his country. A 12th victim of the rush-hour explosion in Minsk has died. At least 126 others were injured, many of whom lost arms and legs. "We must find out who gained by undermining peace and stability in the country, who stands behind this ," said President Lukashenko, suggesting that the attack was "a gift from abroad."

Belarus' KGB says it has identified a suspected bomber and is searching for him. Lukashenko was heavily criticized for a crackdown on protesters after an election in December and the opposition fears he will use the blast as an excuse for even harsher treatment of rivals, Reuters reports. "Regardless of who organized and ordered the blast, the government will be tempted to use it as an excuse to tighten the screws," an opposition leader says.

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