Mayhem in Moscow metro as blasts kill 37
MOSCOW: Two female suicide bombers blew themselves up today in twin attacks
on Moscow subway stations jam-packed with rush-hour passengers, killing at least 37 people and wounding 65, officials said. They blamed the carnage on rebels from the Caucasus region.
The blasts come six years after Caucasus Islamic separatists carried out a pair of deadly Moscow subway strikes and raise concerns that the war has once again come to Russia’s capital, amid militants’ warnings of a renewed determination to push their fight.
Chechen rebels claimed responsibility for a deadly bombing late last year
on a passenger train en route from Moscow to
St Petersburg. Last month, Chechen rebel leader Doku Umarov warned in an interview on a rebel-affiliated Web site that “the zone of military operations will be extended to the territory of Russia ... the war is coming to their cities.” The first explosion took place just before 8 am at the Lubyanka station in central Moscow. The station is underneath the building that houses the main offices of the Federal Security Service, the KGB’s main successor agency.
About 45 minutes later, a second explosion hit the Park Kultury station, which is near the renowned Gorky Park.
“I heard a bang, turned my head and smoke was everywhere. People ran for the exits screaming,” said 24-year-old Alexander Vakulov.
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who built much of his political capital by directing a fierce war with Chechen separatists a decade ago, vowed today that “terrorists will be
destroyed.” The iconic Moscow subway system is one of the world’s busiest, carrying around 7 million passengers on an average workday, and is a key element in running the sprawling and traffic-choked city.
Russian TV showed
amateur video from inside the Lubyanka station of wounded and possibly dead victims sitting and lying on the floor.
Emergency Minister Sergei Shoigu said the toll was 37 killed and 102 injured, but he did not give a breakdown of casualties at each station.
In a televised meeting with President Dmitry Medvedev, Federal Security Service head Alexander Bortnikov said body
fragments of the two bombers pointed to a Caucasus connection. He did not elaborate.
“We will continue the fight against terrorism unswervingly and to the end,” Medvedev said.