Fourteen people are killed, 51 wounded in suicide bombing in Tekhnologichesky Institut metro station in St. Petersburg, Russia • Bomber linked to radical Islamists groups • PM Netanyahu: Israel stands alongside the Russian people at this difficult time.
A train carriage damaged from the explosion at Tekhnologicheskiy institute metro station in St. Petersburg, Monday
Kyrgyzstan, a predominantly Muslim Central Asian nation of 6 million, is Russia’s close political ally and hosts a Russian military airbase.
The blast raised security fears beyond Russian frontiers. France, which has itself suffered a series of attacks, announced additional security measures in Paris.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, who was in the city when the blast struck, visited the scene of the explosion late on Monday night and laid flowers at a makeshift shrine to the victims.
Russia has been on particular alert against Russian-speaking rebels returning from Syria, where they have fought alongside Islamic State, and is wary of any attempts to resume attacks that dogged the country several years ago.
Russia has experienced bomb attacks carried out by Islamist rebels from Russia’s North Caucasus region in the past. The uprising there has been largely crushed, but Russia’s military intervention in Syria has now made it a potential target for attacks by the Islamic State group, security experts say.
Earlier, Russian media broadcast closed circuit television footage of a bearded man they said was being sought by police as a suspect. However, Interfax reported that the man had come forward and been eliminated from inquiries.
The news agency, quoting an unidentified law enforcement source, said that human remains examined at the scene suggested that the blast had been carried out by a suicide bomber. It said the police had identified a suspect with links to radical Islamist groups banned in Russia.
If it is confirmed that the bomb was carried out by radical Islamists, the Kremlin is likely to argue the attack underlines the importance of its campaign in Syria, where it is backing President Bashar Assad in a fight against Islamist militants.
However, some sections of Russian society could see the metro bombing as proof that Putin’s decision to intervene in Syria has again made Russian civilians into targets.
Two years ago, Islamic State brought down a plane carrying Russian tourists home from a Red Sea resort. All 224 people on board the flight were killed.
U.S. President Donald Trump spoke with Putin on Monday to offer condolences to the victims of a attack. The White House issued a statement saying, “President Trump offered the full support of the United States government in responding to the attack and bringing those responsible to justice. Trump and President Putin agreed that terrorism must be decisively and quickly defeated.”
A statement by the Kremlin said Trump “extended his deep condolences to the relatives and loved ones of those killed as result of a barbaric terrorist act. The presidents noted that terrorism is the evil against which it is necessary to fight together.”
Putin reportedly thanked his American counterpart for showing solidarity with the Russian people.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also offer Putin his condolences over the attack.
“On behalf of the government of Israel, I send condolences to President Putin and to the families of those who were murdered, following today’s bombing on the St. Petersburg subway. Israel stands alongside the Russian people at this difficult time.”
China also condemned the attack, with Foreign Minister Wang Yi offering condolences and support in a statement that said, “China resolutely opposed all types of terrorism.”