St. Petersburg metro blast leaves 11 dead scores injured; a second bomb is disarmed

MAMOSA Report — A twin blast blew a hole in the side of subway train as it traveled underground between two central St. Petersburg metro stations Monday, killing at least 11 people and sending panicked commuters diving for cover in what Russian authorities were investigating as a possible terrorist attack.

It is believed the explosive device was hidden inside a suitcase and a security camera has reportedly caught the person responsible for the blast, ITV reported.

As authorities probed the scene of the explosion, a separate shrapnel-filled explosive device — “homemade improvised device” — according to Sputnik, was found and disarmed at another subway station, The Washington Post reported.

The discovery further focused the probe on a possible coordinated plot, and Russia’s Investigative Committee said it was looking into the incident as a possible terrorist attack.

At least two suspects were sought, officials said, but they gave no immediate details on identities or any suspected affiliation in the blast, which rocked the heart of Russia’s second largest city and prompted calls for increased security measures in the country’s public spaces.

The entire St Petersburg underground system – which serves two million people a day – was shut down and evacuated.

Authorities in Russia have issued arrest warrants for two suspects and have initially identified a young person from Central Asia for being responsible for the blast.

Although there were no official statements about the direction of the investigation, Rossiya-24 reported that authorities have video of a possible suspect entering the Sennaya Ploshchad station. Social media were circulating what some Russian agencies called a screen grab of the picture, but it was unclear whether the image was an official one.

Andrei Przhezdomsky, spokesman for the National Anti-Terrorism Committee, said the blast was caused by “an unidentified explosive device” in one of the cars as the train traveled from Sennaya Ploshchad station, one of the main interchanges of the city’s subway system, at about 2:40 p.m.

Sennaya is one of the city’s most celebrated, and tourist-visited, neighborhoods. The area around the Sennaya Ploshchad station is near some of the most famous sights of St. Petersburg, and was the setting of Fyodor Dostoevsky’s novel “Crime and Punishment.”

Shortly after the blast, the entire St. Petersburg subway system was shut down as a precaution, and security was boosted around the city, where Russian President Vladi­mir Putin was holding talks with Belarusan leader Alexander Lukashenko.

The city of St. Petersburg announced three days of mourning beginning Tuesday. The U.S. Embassy in Moscow joined other countries in expressing condolences.

In Washington, President Trump called the incident a “terrible thing.” France’s interior minister, Matthias Fekl, said security would be reinforced around public transit sites in the Paris region. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak denounced the deadly train blast and offered his condolences to the victims’ families.

In Moscow, dozens of young people gathered outside the Kremlin to lay flowers at a World War II memorial to the city of Leningrad — St. Petersburg’s name at the time.

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