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16 killed in suicide bombing in Russia's south

By The Associated Press

This article was originally published December 29, 2013 at 9:21 a.m. Updated December 29, 2013 at 11:07 a.m.

in-this-photo-made-by-a-public-camera-and-made-available-by-the-associated-press-television-news-smoke-pours-out-after-an-explosion-at-volgograd-railway-station-in-volograd-russia-on-sunday-dec-29-2013-more-then-a-dozen-people-were-killed-and-scores-were-wounded-sunday-by-a-suicide-bomber-at-a-railway-station-in-southern-russia-officials-said-heightening-concern-about-terrorism-ahead-of-februarys-olympics-in-the-black-sea-resort-of-sochi-ap-photo-associated-press-television-news

In this photo made by a public camera and made available by the Associated Press Television News smoke pours out after an explosion at Volgograd railway station, in Volograd Russia on Sunday, Dec. 29, 2013. More then a dozen people were killed and scores were wounded Sunday by a suicide bomber at a railway station in southern Russia, officials said, heightening concern about terrorism ahead of February's Olympics in the Black Sea resort of Sochi. (AP Photo/ Associated Press Television News)

MOSCOW — A suicide bomber struck a busy railway station in southern Russia on Sunday, killing herself and at least 15 others and wounding scores more, officials said, in a stark reminder of the threat Russia is facing as it prepares to host February's Olympics in Sochi.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the bombing in Volgograd, but it came several months after Chechen rebel leader Doku Umarov called for new attacks against civilian targets in Russia, including the Sochi Games.

Suicide bombings have rocked Russia for years, but many have been contained to the Caucasus, the center of an insurgency seeking an Islamist state in the region. Until recently Volgograd was not a typical target, but the city formerly known as Stalingrad has now been struck twice in two months — suggesting militants may be using the transportation hub as a renewed way of showing their reach outside their restive region.

Volgograd, which borders the Caucasus, is 550 miles south of Moscow and about 400 miles northeast of Sochi, a Black Sea resort flanked by the North Caucasus Mountains.

The bombing highlights the daunting security challenge Russia will face in fulfilling its pledge to make the Sochi Games the "safest Olympics in history." The government has deployed tens of thousands of soldiers, police and other security personnel to protect the games.

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