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2 people killed, 7 wounded in Russian resort

Aug. 07, 2008, 9:49 a.m. (ET)

MOSCOW (AP) A device exploded Thursday on a beach in a Russian resort that will host the 2014 Winter Olympics, killing two people and wounding at least seven, officials said.

The blast occurred in the southern city of Sochi when visitors touched the device on the Black Sea resort beach, the regional branch of Russia's Interior Ministry said.

It said a man and a woman died on the spot and three other visitors, including an 8-year-old child, were wounded on the beach, which is 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) north of central Sochi.

Other sources had higher injury totals.

The regional Center for Emergency Medicine said that seven people were wounded and hospitalized and several others were treated on the spot for small injuries. The Interfax news agency quoted an unidentified law enforcement source as saying 13 people were injured.

Local authorities said they quickly evacuated visitors from all Sochi beaches and checked them for more explosives. None were found.

The blast immediately drew the concern of Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev who ordered his envoy in the region to oversee the investigation. The local governor rushed to the site.

An Interior Ministry official said the explosion could be part of turf battle for control over the area between local criminal groups. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

The local police offered a reward of 2 million rubles (US$85,000, €55,000) for information that would help authorities track down the perpetrators.