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Sunday, January 15, 2006

U.S. ambassador welcomes condemnation of Moscow synagogue attack

13/ 01/ 2006

MOSCOW, January 13 (RIA Novosti) - The United States welcomes the Russian authorities' condemnation of an attack on a central Moscow synagogue in which a man stabbed eight people, the U.S. ambassador to Russia said Friday.

During a visit to the Chabad synagogue, the scene of the incident, William Burns told the congregation: "The United States strongly condemns this crime and all acts of ethnic and religious hatred and violence. The United States welcomes Russian Government statements condemning the attack and Procurator General [Vladimir] Ustinov's intent to oversee personally the criminal case. We urge the Russian authorities to use all legal means to prosecute the perpetrator of this crime, and stop any such attacks in the future. It is crucially important to fight extremism in all its forms."

The U.S. Embassy's official Web site said Burns also "conveyed his sympathy and the condolences of the American people to Rabbi Yitzak Kogan and those wounded in the January 11 attack on the synagogue, their families, and the other members of the congregation."

Vladimir Koptsev, a 20-year-old Muscovite, has been charged with the attempted murder of two or more people due to ethnic or religious motives, committing acts designed to denigrate a group of people due to their religion or ethnic background, and causing grievous bodily harm due to religious motives.

Two of Koptsev's victims have been moved from intensive care to ordinary wards, a spokesman for a prominent Jewish organization said earlier Friday.

Borukh Gorin, a spokesman for the Russian Federation of Jewish Communities, said their condition was improving, but one other man remained in intensive care. He added that in all five people were still being treated in hospital, but three had already been discharged.

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