Dozens dead in Moscow metro blasts
Issued on: Modified:
Thirty-six people have been killed in two separate explosions in Moscow's metro system. Russia's Federal Security Service says the attacks are linked to insurgent groups in the Northern Caucasus.
“Moscow is still functioning,” reports Moscow correspondent Luke Harding. “I actually got the metro back to my office. It was pretty empty.”
“Police are standing on the metro platforms and the entrances to the stations… people are very wary,” he added.
The first explosion went off just before 8am local time on a train at the Lubyanka station in central Moscow, killing 24 people and wounding 17. Forty minutes later, a second explosion on the same line killed a 12 more people at the Park Kulturi metro station, also in central Moscow. Fifteen were wounded.
The spokesperson for the Russian emergencies ministry, Irina Andrianova, said both blasts took place in a train carriage while it was on the platform.
Harding reports that investigators are saying the blasts were set off by two female suicide bombers, who boarded trains at the start of the line, travelling together into the centre of town.
There are reports emergency services were impeded from accessing the site of the blasts due to the early morning rush-hour traffic.
“I use the metro everyday. Millions of Muscovites use the metro – it’s the busiest metro in the world after Tokyo, and of course this is Monday morning and the metro was very crowded,” said Harding.
The head of Russia’s Federal Security Service, Alexander Bortnikov, said the attacks appear to be linked to groups in the Northern Caucasus who have waged an insurgency against the pro-Kremlin local authorities in the last few years.
Islamist leader Doku Umarov reportedly posted warnings online that the insurgents’ next target would be Moscow.
“Government forces there both local and federal have used very brutal tactics against the insurgents,” explains Harding, adding that the attacks have “the hallmarks of a revenge attack.”
“Recently Russia has been carrying out special operations there and has killed several top level leaders,” he said.
“When you have young women blowing themselves up on the streets of Moscow, it’s clearly a brutal response to what’s happening in the North Caucuses at the moment.”
This is the third attack in Moscow in six years. In September 2004, a suicide bomber killed nine people and wounded 50 outside the Rizhskaya metro station in Moscow. In February of that year suicide bomber destroyed a metro carriage, killing at least 41 as the train moved between the Paveletskaya and the Avtozavodskaya stations.
The Russian capital over the last decade has been hit by a string of deadly explosionsclaimed by insurgents Chechnya, but this has become less frequent.
Daily news briefReceive essential international news every morningSubscribe