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Blast wounds 40 in Moldovan capital

Forty people were wounded in a grenade explosion in the heart of the Moldovan capital Chisinau where thousands had massed for an outdoor concert, officials said on Thursday.

world Updated: Oct 15, 2009 13:11 IST

Forty people were wounded in a grenade explosion in the heart of the Moldovan capital Chisinau where thousands had massed for an outdoor concert, officials said on Thursday.

Moldovan Interior Minister Viktor Katan said the initial investigation had showed the blast was caused by a grenade of the kind used by the military but said it could be a "terrorist act." The explosion took place late Wednesday evening as Chisinau's central square was filled with mainly youths attending a concert to mark city day that included acts from Moldova, Romania and Russia.

Of the 40 wounded, 37 were hospitalized with wounds to the leg as well as the stomach and face. There were no reports of fatalities. "It remains to be seen whether this was caused by hooligans, negligence or other causes. We are not ruling out the idea of a terrorist act," said Katan.

"Police have worked all night, have spoken to the wounded and eyewitnesses. We need to analyse everything and make conclusions," he said.

Moldova, Europe's poorest country, was rocked by riots in April after disputed legislative elections provoked riots in the capital that the then Communist authorities blamed on neighbouring Romania.

The Communists lost a re-run of the elections in July and a liberal pro-EU government has now taken office although there remains stalemate over the identity of its next president.