MS Risk Blog

Explosion in St Petersburg Metro Station

Posted on in Russia title_rule

Fourteen people were killed and a further fifty were wounded on Monday 3 April in a blast that occurred in a St Petersburg train carriage.

The explosion on Monday afternoon at 2:40 PM (1140 GMT) occurred when the train was in a tunnel deep underground, which amplified the force of the blast. The carriage door was blown off, with witnesses describing seeing injured passengers with bloodied and blackened bodies. State investigative authorities have disclosed that fragments of the body of the suspect had been found amongst the dead, indicating that he was a suicide bomber.

The National Anti-Terrorist Committee reported on Monday that an explosive device had been found at another station, hidden in a fire extinguisher, adding that it had been defused. It was unclear who had placed that device, and so far no arrests have been made.

Authorities disclosed on Tuesday 4 April that the main suspect behind the attack is a Russian citizen, originally from mainly Muslim Kyrgyzstan. The Kyrgyz GKNP security service has identified the suspect as Azbarzhon Jalilov, born in the city of Osh in 1995. The security service however has provided no further detail about the suspect. Citing law enforcement officials, Russian media have reported that the perpetrator had radical Islamist links, which has raised the possibility that the attack could have been inspired by the so-called Islamic State (IS) group, which has not struck a major city in Russia before. So far however there has been no official confirmation or claim of responsibility.

Russia has been on alert against attacks in reprisal for its military intervention in Syria, where Moscow’ forces have been supporting troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad against Western-backed armed group s as well as IS.   The militant group is now under attack by all sides in Syria’s multi-faceted war and it has repeatedly threatened revenge and has ben linked to recent bombings elsewhere in Europe. Monday’s attack in Russia has raised security fears beyond Russian frontiers, with France, which has itself suffered a series of terrorist attacks, announcing additional security measures in Paris.