Russia is reeling from an explosion that President Vladimir Putin said could have been a terror attack, according to the U.K. Independent. The most recent reports confirm 9 dead and 20 injured in the attack.
An explosive device detonated at 2:20 p.m. as a commuter train was headed for the Sennaya Ploshchad metro station in St. Petersburg, one of the busiest metro intersections in the city. Despite the blast, the brave driver did not stop the train until he reached the station.
Putin was expected to be in St. Petersburg for a visit with Belarus President Aleksandr Grigoryevich Lukashenko, according to the U.K. Express.
One witness reported seeing a man who changed train cars and left a briefcase behind, according to The U.K. Telegraph. Citing unnamed sources, Russian news agencies said that the alleged organizer was captured on closed-circuit security cameras, according to Sputnik News. Here is the photo:
Photos of the carnage show the door blown off of the train car and the platform littered with bodies and survivors, many of them receiving aid from passersby.
“The choice of the place and the timing of these blasts is not accidental. The president of Russia is in (Saint Petersburg), the media forum is taking place there, there are many journalists,” said Viktor Ozerov, head of the Russian parliament Defense Committee.
All stations were immediately shut down and evacuated as anti-terrorism forces began their investigation of the incident. A second explosive device was found at the busy Ploschad Vosstaniya station and was neutralized.
Putin immediately made a statement:
“The causes of this event have not been determined yet, so it’s too early to talk about (possible causes),” he said. “The investigation will show. Certainly we will consider all variants, common, criminal, first of all, of a terrorist nature.”
Bomb threats are common in Russia, although state-sponsored media rarely report them. The last train bombing was in December 2013, when 18 people were killed and 44 injured by a suicide bomber in Volgograd, according to the U.K. Express.
The investigation has yet to reveal whether this was a radical Islamic terror attack, but with Russia’s hammering of the Islamic State group and specifically Russia’s adversarial relationship with predominantly Muslim Chechnya, it’s a fair bet that the trail of breadcrumbs could be easy to follow.
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