Monday, April 3, 2017

St Petersburg explosion: 10 killed and dozens injured in metro blast

April 3, 2017 (Thegardian) At least 10 people have been killed after a suspected bomb detonated on a metro train in St Petersburg. The blast occurred at the Sennaya Ploshchad station, in the centre of Russia’s second city, at about 2.30pm (11.30am GMT), reportedly as the train was pulling out of the station. Andrei Kibitov, spokesman for the St Petersburg governor, told Russian television that 10 people had been killed and 50 injured. Hours later a second device at another metro station was found and made safe, Russia’s national anti-terrorist committee said in a statement.

The news agency Interfax quoted law enforcement sources claiming the blast was caused by explosive material placed in the carriage. Photographs from the scene showed a metro train in the station with one set of doors blown out, and a number of people on the ground with injuries. Eyewitnesses said people had to exit the carriage through the windows as the doors did not work. Hundreds of people waited outside the station entrance at street level, along with fire engines and police vehicles. The whole of the city’s metro system was closed in the aftermath of the blast, and a number of streets at ground level were also shut off, as medical helicopters landed at the scene to evacuate the injured. Russian president Vladimir Putin is in St Petersburg, where he spoke at a forum earlier in the day. About an hour after the blast, Putin expressed his condolences to families of the victims before a meeting with the Belarus president, Alexander Lukashenko. He said it was “too early to say” what caused the blast but that it could be “criminal or terrorist”. Putin said he had already spoken with the director of the FSB security services and other law enforcement agencies.

An injured person is helped by emergency services outside the metro station. Photograph: Reuters
The British foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, said he was horrified by news of the explosion. “My sympathies are with the victims and their families,” he tweeted. For many years, Russia suffered frequent terror attacks from Islamist groups based in the North Caucasus, including blasts on the Moscow metro in 2010. However, since a suicide bomber struck at Domodedovo airport in January 2011, attacks have largely been confined to the North Caucasus itself. 

Since Russia entered the war in Syria, a number of Islamic State propaganda outlets have said the country would be a target. However, there was no immediate claim of responsibility for the explosion.
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