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Bomb Goes Off at Kindergarten, Maims Girl

A small bomb wrapped in shiny packaging went off in a kindergarten in the far eastern city of Komsomolsk-on-Amur, nearly blinding a 5-year-old girl who picked it up during a morning walk Tuesday, officials said.

The victim "was rushed to the hospital with burns to her chest and eyes," the Investigative Committee said in a statement. Local news web site Amurmedia.ru said she was undergoing surgery to save her eyesight.

Police detained the suspect the same day, Interfax said. His name was not released, but reports said it was a unemployed local resident with an extensive record of hooliganism charges. Various sources put his age at either 26 or 28.

The homemade bomb was equivalent to a mere 7 grams of TNT, Khabarovsk region police chief Andrei Sergeyev said, Gazeta.ru reported. A part of the device was filled with metal shells to increase damage, but it did not explode, he said, adding that an adult present at the scene kicked away the package with the bomb after the injured girl dropped it.

A sticker with a smiley face was put on the bomb, tabloid Lifenews.ru said.

The suspect faces up to 20 years in prison on terrorism charges. Local investigators dismissed late Tuesday reports that he pleaded guilty.

Sergeyev said the kindergarten's administration had neglected safety measures ordered by local police, failing to fence the territory and to install surveillance cameras around the premises.

The Interior Ministry ordered a search of all preschool and school facilities across Russia, the ministry said in a statement on its web site. No more bombs were discovered.

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