Officials suspect pattern in Pae Street explosions

  • 2005-09-14
  • From wire reports
TALLINN - A bomb was detonated in a nine-story apartment on Pae Street in Tallinn, killing a 66-year-old man and injuring a child on Sept. 9. Authorities are not ruling out the possibility that this incident, along with explosions over the past three years on the same notorious avenue, can be attributed to the same individual.

A criminal investigation, lauched immediately after the incident, is now focusing on whether the design of the bomb, its material and the detonator used are similar to previous explosives on Pae Street, which has been plagued by similar explosions since 1998.

Head prosecutor Heino Tonismagi has asked for the help of residents, who might have noticed suspicious activity.

"The bomb maker may have tested his explosives somewhere in a remote quarry, or caught people's eye in some other manner," he said.

The explosion, which occurred at 56 Pae Street in Lasnamae, a Tallinn neighborhood, was reported at 9:32 a.m., a spokesman for the North Police Precinct said. About 10 windows were shattered, and the concrete balcony platform was dislodged.

Police Chief Tarmo Miilits said the victim's body was so badly burned that officials could not immediately establish its gender. The man was later identified as an apartment maintenance worker. Officials suspect that the man noticed an unknown object and accidentally activated the bomb by touching it.

Lasnamae Deputy Governer Jan Trei said that, although an explosion occurred in the same area on April 6, no such incidents have happened at exactly 56 Pae Street.

The area has earned a notorious reputation in Tallinn for its many explosions over the years. On Sept. 3, 2004, a bomb detonated in a telephone booth outside 68 Pae Street, resulting in one death.

An explosion also occurred in a dormitory at 23A Pae Street on May 16 of that same year, and on Nov. 19, 2003, the bomb squad removed an explosive from the stairwell of the same building, thanks to an early warning by students.

The first explosion to set off this suspicious trail happened on the night of Dec. 18, 1998 in a bar at 48 Pae Street. Two people were killed.