Moscow Subway Terror Bombing Kills 38 People
MOSCOW -38 people are dead, and dozens are injured after two female suicide bombers blew themselves up on Moscow’s subway Metro system at the peak of rush hour.
Witnesses described panic at two stations, with commuters falling over each other in dense smoke and dust as they tried to escape the worst attack on the Russian capital in six years.
The head of Russia’s main security agency said preliminary investigation places the blame on rebels from the restive Caucasus region that includes Chechnya, where separatists have fought Russian forces since the mid-1990s. Alexander Bortnikov, head of the FSB, told President Dmitry Medvedev the bombs were filled with bolts and iron rods.
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who built much of his political capital by directing a fierce war with Chechen separatists a decade ago, vowed that “terrorists will be destroyed.”
In the wake of the explosions, New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced a “heightened security presence,” NBC News reported.
The first blast just before 8 a.m. (12.00 a.m. ET) tore through the second carriage of a train as it stood at the Lubyanka metro station. The explosion killed at least 23 people.
The headquarters of the FSB, Russia’s main domestic security service and the successor to the Soviet-era KGB, is located in a building above the station.
Another blast about 40 minutes later wrecked the second carriage of a train waiting at the Park Kultury metro station, killing 14 more people.
“I heard a bang, turned my head and smoke was everywhere. People ran for the exits screaming,” said 24-year-old Alexander Vakulov, who said he was waiting on the platform opposite the targeted train at Park Kultury.
“I saw a dead person for the first time in my life,” said 19-year-old Valentin Popov, who also was standing on the opposite platform. “Everyone was screaming. There was a stampede at the doors. I saw one woman holding a child and pleading with people to let her through, but it was impossible.”
Surveillance camera footage posted on the Internet showed motionless bodies lying in Lubyanka station lobby and emergency workers treating victims.
Emergency Minister Sergei Shoigu said the toll was 38 killed and 105 injured, according to Russian news agencies.