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|Subject: 35 dead in blast at busiest Moscow airport Tue Jan 25, 2011 8:42 am|| |
overseas tonight more than 30 people are dead, more than 150 injured after a massive suicide bombing attack in one of the busiest airports in all of europe, in moscow . officials say a male suicide bomber walked into the international arrivals terminal and set off an enormous explosion. the pictures out of there are tough to watch. our chief foreign correspondent, andrea mitchell , has more on the attack and who may be responsible.
>> reporter: the crowded baggage area looked like a battlefield amidst a grewsome mix of shrapnel, blood and body parts, the injured on gurneys. after one suicide bomberset off a bomb with the equivalent of 15 pounds of tnt. security was light. eyewitnesses saw a man walk in with a suitcase and say "i'll kill you all."
>> translator: i just raised my head and here came the blast. there were many cries and somebody made a shout starting with the sound ah and this was followed by the explosion. i saw the suitcase, the suitcase was on fire.
>> terrible. i never wish i'd seen it. i'm very shocked.
>> reporter: officials quickly cordoned off the scene, they report from the terminal.
>> just hours after this horrific attack here, the airport is functioning and back on its feet, but it will take longer to heal the personal pain and restore russian stability, shaken hard by this attack on moscow 's busiest airport .
>> reporter: russia 's president, dmitry medvedev , went on television to offer reassurance.
>> translator: we can take all steps in conducting this investigation so we get information fast so we can pursue the investigation, so to speak, while the trail is still warm.
>> reporter: and on twitter, medvedev promised security will be tightened at all of russia 's airports and major transport hubs. terrorism experts immediately suspected rebels from the russian province of chechnya, believed responsible for a trail of other attacks, including the bombing of moscow 's subway last march. attacks on two express trains in november of 2009 , and in 2004 the suicide bombings of two passenger planes midair by two female terrorists who boarded from this same airport.
>> it seems that this is consistent with previous chechnyan attacks. looking to kill as many people as possible and in the process embarrass the medvedev government.
>> reporter: reportedly among the 35 dead, two britons, so far no americans are known to have died. today's attack could lead to a greater crackdown in russia . if only to ease international concerns about security in that country as it plans to host two major events, the 2014 winter olympics and the world cup four years later.
>> particularly troubling because it was the part of the airport where you go to pick people up who have arrived and don't have to pass through security, of course. andrea mitchell in our washington newsroom. andrea, thanks.
MOSCOW — A suicide bomber carrying a suitcase walked into Moscow's busiest airport and set off a huge explosion Monday, killing 35 people and wounding 180.The international arrivals terminal at Domodedovo Airport was engulfed by smoke and splattered with body parts after the mid-afternoon terror attack sprayed shrapnel, screws and ball bearings at passengers and workers. Hundreds of people were in the loosely guarded area at the time.Story: Attack shows 'major security loophole' at airportsPresident Dmitry Medvedev immediately ordered authorities to beef up security at Moscow's two other commercial airports and other key transport facilities. He also canceled plans to fly out Tuesday to Davos, Switzerland, where he was going to promote Russia as a safe, profitable investment haven to world business leaders."Attempts were being made to identify" the suspected male suicide bomber, Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin said, adding that the attacker appeared to have been wearing the explosives in a belt. The bomb was packed with metal objects to cause maximum damage, according to law enforcement authorities.
The Interfax news agency said the head of the suspected bomber had been found.No one immediately claimed responsibility for the explosion, which occurred at 4:32 p.m. (1332 GMT). But Chechen militants have claimed responsibility for previous terror attacks in Moscow, including a double suicide bombing on the subway in March 2010 that killed 40 people and wounded more than 100.An analyst told NBC News the blast was "almost certainly" the work of Islamist militants from Russia's North Caucasus region.Two unconfirmed media reports out of Russia suggested that security services were tipped off to a terrorist attack on a Moscow airport in advance of Monday's bombing and had suspects in their sights.
The U.K.'s Telegraph quoted a source from Russian-language site Lifenews.ru as saying authorities knew of a planned attack a week ago."A tip-off with a warning that something was being prepared appeared one week before the explosion," the Lifenews.ru source said according to the Telegraph. "Even the place, by the customs, was named." A law enforcement source told RIA Novosti news service that the security services were seeking three suspects who were able to gain access to the airport, witness the explosion, then leave.The latest attack on the Russian capital also called into question Russia's ability to safely host major international sports events like the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi and the 2018 World Cup. It was the second time in seven years that terrorists had hit the Domodedovo Airport: In 2004, suicide bombers penetrated the lax security there, killing 90 people as they blew up two planes.Large-scale battles in Chechnya ended years ago, following two devastating wars between Russia and the republic's separatists, but Islamic militants have continued to carry out suicide bombings and other attacks. Most of the attacks have been in Chechnya and other predominantly Muslim provinces in the southern Caucasus region, but some have targeted Moscow, including its subways, buses and trains.In Washington, President Barack Obama condemned the "outrageous act of terrorism" and offered any assistance Russia might want. Those comments were echoed by British Prime Minister David Cameron, who spoke with Medvedev and assured him of his complete support.The Emergencies Ministry said 35 people were killed, 86 hospitalized with injuries and 94 were given medical treatment. Two Britons were among the dead, Markin said.The Russkaya aya Sluzhba Novostei radio station cited a traveler, identified as Viktor, as saying he heard a loud bang while he was waiting for a car outside the terminal."There was an explosion, a bang. Then I saw a policeman covered in fragments of flesh and all bloody. He was shouting 'I've survived! I've survived!'" he told the radio station.
'Covered in blood'
Mark Green, a British Airways passenger who had just arrived at the airport, told BBC News that he heard the huge explosion as he was leaving the terminal."We were walking out through the exit of the arrivals hall towards the car, and there was this almighty explosion, a huge bang. We didn't know it was an explosion at the time, and my colleague and I looked at each other and said 'Christ that sounds like a car bomb or something,' because the noise was, literally, it shook you," Green told BBC News.