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|Subject: Video & Photos Explosion at Moscow Airport Kills 31: Report Tue Jan 25, 2011 9:15 am|| |
Interior Ministry officers stand guard at Moscow's Domodedovo airport January 24, 2011.
Credit: REUTERS/Denis Sinyakov
By Alexei Anishchuk
A suicide bomber killed at least 35 people at Russia's
victim of a bomb explosion talks to a relative as medics transport him
from a local hospital to an ambulance heading for Moscow, in the town of
Domodedovo January 24, 2011.
Credit: REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin
transport a victim of a bomb explosion from a local hospital to an
ambulance heading for Moscow, in the town of Domodedovo January 24,
Credit: REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin
irport on Monday, state TV said, in an attack on the capital
that bore the hallmarks of militants fighting for an Islamist state in
the North Caucasus region.
President Dmitry Medvedev vowed
to track down and punish those behind the bombing, which also injured
over 150 people, during the busy late afternoon at Moscow's Domodedovo
airport. The dead included some foreigners.Islamist
rebels have vowed to take their bombing campaign from the North
Caucasus to the Russian heartland in the year before presidential
elections, hitting transport and economic targets. They have also
leveled threats at the 2014 Winter Olympics, scheduled for the Black Sea resort town of Sochi, a region some militants consider "occupied."Dense smoke filled Domodedovo's international arrivals hall and a fire burned along one wall."Taxi
drivers lined up in the arrivals hall were blown up. Pieces of their
bodies covered us and my left ear doesn't hear very well at all," Artyom
Zhilenkov, 30, told Reuters as he pointed to pieces of human flesh on
his coat.Thick drops of blood were
scattered across the snow-covered tarmac outside the arrivals hall,
where Interfax news agency said traces of shrapnel were found.Two
Britons were among the dead, media cited investigative committee
spokesman Vladimir Markin as saying, and French, Italians, and Germans
were in hospitals, though this could not be immediately confirmed with
their embassies. Planes from across Europe had landed in the half hour
leading up to the attack."I heard a
loud boom... we thought someone had just dropped something. But then I
saw casualties being carried away," a check-in attendant who gave her
name as Elena told Reuters at Domodedovo, which is some 22 km (14 miles)
southeast of Moscow.The
prosecutor's office said the bomb had been classified as a terrorist
attack -- the largest since twin suicide bombings on the Moscow metro
rocked the Russian heartland in March."The blast was most likely carried out by a suicide bomber."State
television said the blast was the work of a "smertnik," or suicide
bomber. State-run RIA, quoting Markin, said the bomber most likely had a
belt laden with explosives.U.S.
President Barack Obama condemned the "outrageous act of terrorism" and
offered Moscow help. NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said
he was shocked, state TV said.A
decade after federal forces drove separatists from power in Chechnya in
the second of two wars, the mainly Muslim North Caucasus is wracked by
violence.Medvedev, who has called
the Islamist insurgency in the North Caucasus the biggest threat to
Russian security, wrote on Twitter: "Security will be strengthened at
large transport hubs.""We mourn the victims of the terrorist attack at Domodedovo airport. The organizers will be tracked down and punished."
Medvedev, due to open the World Economic Forum on Wednesday, delayed his Tuesday departure to the Swiss city of Davos.
No group has yet taken responsibility for the attack, but dozens of
Internet surfers, writing in Russian, praised the suicide bomber on
unofficial Islamist site kavkazcenter.com.
Russia's rouble-denominated stock market MICEX fell by nearly two
percent following the blast, but traders said they expected little
"It (the blast) is moving the market in the short term, but there is no
fundamental reason for the market to fall. If you remember, the market
didn't react strongly to (previous blasts)," said trader Alexei Bachurin
from Renaissance Capital.
However, analysts and insiders could change their tune if Russia sees a
sustained a wave of such attacks, which could dent its $1.2 trillion
economy, which is recovering from the global crisis.
The attack raised questions over Russian security -- one month after it won the right to host the 2018 World Cup.
Twitter users posted mobile video phone footage of dozens of people
lying on the floor amongst severed limbs and pools of blood as thick
smoke filled the hall.
Airport staff were shown using flash lights to pick their way through
the chaotic scene taped off immediately after the blast. Later videos
showed emergency workers wheeling injured people out of the terminal on
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who shares power in a 'tandem'
arrangement with the less influential Medvedev, has staked his political
reputation on quelling rebellion in the North Caucasus.
He launched a war in late 1999 in Chechnya to topple a secessionist
government. That campaign achieved its immediate aim and helped him to
the presidency months later; but since then insurgency has spread to
neighboring Ingushetia and Dagestan.
"It does not ... bode well for Russian ties to the North Caucasus and is
yet another sign that what Putin started in 1999 by invading the
rebellious republic of Chechnya has come home to roost again in the
Russian capital," said Glen Howard, president of the U.S. Jamestown
Foundation research institution.
Tensions between ethnic Russians and Muslims -- at 20 million they make
up one seventh of Russia's population -- flared dramatically last month
in a string of clashes, which involved thousands of Russian nationalists
who attacked passersby of non-Slavic appearance, many of whom were from
the North Caucasus.
Analysts say rebels are planning to increase violence in the run up to
2012 presidential elections, that may well see Putin returning to the
"It is a clear jab at the FSB (Federal Security Services) and at the
elections," said Adil Mukashev, an independent expert on terrorism
Security has been tightened at Moscow's other two airports, which will
also receive diverted passengers who were flying toward Domodedovo,
Moscow suffered its worst attack in six years in March 2010 when
two female suicide bombers from Dagestan set off explosives in the
metro, killing 40 people.
The worst incident involving North Caucasus rebels took place in 2004
when militants seized control of a school in Beslan. When Russian troops
stormed the building in an attempt to end a siege, 331 hostages, half
of them children, were killed.
(Writing and additional reporting by Amie Ferris-Rotman, additional
reporting by Guy Faulconbridge, Steve Gutterman and Alissa de Carbonnel,
Editing by Ralph Boulton)