People are being evacuated. Airport workers have destroyed a brick wall near the luggage claim area to let the passengers leave the area of the explosion.
Up to 31 people have been killed in an explosion at Moscow’s Domodedovo airport according to the Russian Health Ministry. Some 130 more are said to have been injured in what the Investigative Committee believes to be a terror attack. Twenty people are reported to be in critical condition.
Heavy smoke at the site of the explosion is hampering the efforts of the emergency workers who are trying to establish if there are any more victims, a ministry spokesperson said. There are reports that the bomb was packed with shrapnel.
One of the eyewitnesses, Tatyana Papova, said it has been announced that the airport is working normally and all flights are departing on time. “I’m not sure about the international arrivals though. Airport staff don’t know where they will be diverted to,” Tatyana said.
“I came here about half an hour ago. I heard that there was a blast at the arrivals area. There was already a lot of smoke at the baggage claim. There were a lot of people crowded there because the escalators had stopped. The staff organized emergency exits, but the door was very narrow and people crowded there immediately. So the staff started breaking the walls to let the people out. Soon after, the airport stopped receiving arrival flights. Everyone left the passport control area and started leaving the baggage claim area. Only those who hadn’t received their luggage stayed.”
An initial probe indicated the blast was a terrorist attack caused by a suicide bomber. Another theory is the bomb may have arrived in one of the bags.
Moscow police have been put on alert over possible terror attacks in the capital. Police are also on alert at Vnukovo airport and Sheremetyevo international airport in Moscow and in the metro system.
International flights are being redirected to other Moscow area airports. Some 80 emergency teams are already on the spot. The first groups of injured passengers have been taken to hospital.
Medvedev is holding an urgent meeting with the Prosecutor General, the Investigative Committee Chief, and the Transportation Minister.
According to reports, the explosion happened at 4:30 pm in the luggage claim area in the international arrivals wing of the airport. The explosion power was equivalent to 5 to 10 kilograms of TNT.
A criminal case has been opened into the suspected terror attack. Police are searching for three suspects in connection with the blast after watching airport security camera footage.
Hot line incident telephone numbers:
+7 (495) 363-61-01
+7 (495) 662-82-47
+7 (495) 644-40-56
Terror attacks in Moscow
The last confirmed terror attack in Moscow happened in March 2010, when twin blasts at two Moscow Metro stations killed 40 and injured almost 90 passengers. The attack was carried out by female suicide bombers from the Chechen Republic.
Earlier, in August 2006, a blast at Cherkizovo marketplace killed 14 and injured 61 people. The attack, carried out by Russian nationalist extremists, targeted migrants working there.
In August 2004, a suicide bomber set detonated explosives near a Metro station. It is believed her intention was to carry out the attack underground, but her nerve failed when police noticed her strange behavior and tried to investigate. The blast killed ten and injured 33.
In February 2004, a suicide attack in a running Moscow Metro train killed 41 people and injured some 250.
In December 2003, a suicide bomber set off an explosion near the National Hotel in central Moscow. It killed 6 people and injured 14.
In June the same year, two suicide bombers killed 16 and wounded some 60 people at the Krylia rock festival at Tushino airport in Moscow.
In October 2002, a 40- to 50-strong gang of militants took more than 900 people hostage in a theater in Dubrovka Street in Moscow. They planted explosive devices in the crowd and threatened to set them off if their demands were not met. The four-day standoff ended in a raid by Russian anti-terror troops, who used poisonous gas to disable all the terrorists. The gas killed about 130 of the hostages.
In October 2002, a car bomb parked near a McDonald’s restaurant killed one person and injured eight.
In February 2001, an explosive device planted at the Belorusskaya Metro station injured some 20 people. The perpetrators of this attack have never been identified.
In August 2000, an improvised explosive device at an underground walkway near Pushkinskaya square killed 13 people and injured 61.
In September 1999, there were two bombings, with a six-day delay in between, in the basements of residential buildings in Moscow. The total death toll was more than 225, while some 700 people were injured. It was the worst ever terror attack in Moscow.
In August 1999, a bomb killed 1 woman and injured 41 people in a trade mall at Manezhnaya square.