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Russian investigators say two bombs went off at the scene of a train derailment that killed at least 26 people and injured about 100 others.
The head of Russia's federal security service, Alexander Bortnikov, says preliminary findings indicate a bomb caused the derailment of the Nevsky Express as it travelled between Moscow and Saint Petersburg.
Mr Bortnikov says the device was the equivalent of seven kilograms of TNT and created a one-metre-wide crater under the rails, one of which was twisted.
As rescue teams searched for passengers trapped in the overturned carriages, a second bomb went off, but no one was injured, officials said.
The 14-carriage train had been carrying 682 passengers and 29 crew.
Detectives said they had found fragments of what they believed was a bomb and opened a criminal case on charges of terrorism.
The force of the initial blast jolted at least two carriages off the rails near the village of Uglovka, about 350 kilometres north of Moscow.
Some witnesses said they heard a loud bang. An elderly woman who lives in a nearby log cabin said: "I thought it was an earthquake - the ground shook."
Hundreds of rescue workers toiled through the night to search for survivors, cutting through the tangled steel of at least three train carriages that lay battered beside the rails.
Russia's emergency ministry said at least 26 people had been confirmed dead with another 18 missing, though one rescue official earlier put the death toll as high as 39. The ministry said 96 people had been injured.
Since a spate of suicide bombings and attacks in Moscow in 2004, analysts say suspected terrorism incidents have traditionally triggered probes into any link to separatists in Chechnya, where Moscow has fought two wars in the past 15 years.
No one has publicly claimed responsibility for the latest train disaster.
The attack, Russia's worst outside the turbulent North Caucasus since the 2004 bombings, has stoked fears of a surge in attacks in Russia's historic heartland by Islamist rebels.
An explosion in August 2007 derailed a similar Nevsky Express train on the same route, injuring 30 people.
The latest railway disaster is the deadliest since December 2003 when a bomb blast tore through a passenger train in the North Caucasus, killing 47 people.
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