MOSCOW, RUSSIA – Two explosions, one of them blamed on a suicide bomber, slammed Moscow’s subway system Monday morning as it was jam-packed with rush-hour passengers, killing at least 34 people and wounding more than 25, officials said.
Emergency Ministry spokeswoman Veronika Smolskaya said 22 people were killed in the first blast, 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.
A second explosion hit the Park Kultury station about 45 minutes later. Smolskaya said at least 12 were dead there.
Moscow city prosecutor Yuri Syomin, speaking to reporters at the Lubyanka site, said the blast there was a suicide bombing. Russia’s top investigative body said terrorism was suspected.
The last confirmed terrorist attack in Moscow was in August 2004, when a suicide bomber blew herself up outside a city subway station, killing 10 people.
Responsibility for that blast was claimed by Chechen rebels, and suspicion in Monday’s explosions is likely to focus on them and other separatist groups in the restive North Caucasus region.
The 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.
The blasts practically paralyzed movement in the city center as emergency vehicles sped to the stations. Helicopters hovered over the Park Kultury station area, which is near the renowned Gorky Park.
Passengers, many of them in tears, streamed out of the station, one man exclaiming over and over “This is how we live!”
At least a dozen ambulances were on the scene.
MOSCOW – The head of Russia’s main security agency says Caucasus rebels are believed to have carried out two sucide bombings on Moscow’s subway system that killed 36 people.
Officials say two female suicide bombers blew themselves up on trains as the subway was packed with rush-hour passengers Monday morning.
In a televised meeting with President Dmitry Medvedev, the head of the Federal Security Service said preliminary investigation points to terrorists connected to the restive Caucasus region that includes Chechnya.
Alexander Bortnikov said the assessment was based on fragments of the bombers’ bodies. He did not elaborate.