At least 10 people were killed and dozens more were wounded Monday after an explosive device blew up inside a subway train car in St. Petersburg, according to multiple reports. Authorities in the Russian city are investigating whether terrorism played a role in the deadly blast.
Here’s what we know about the incident:
An “unidentified object” detonated inside a train carriage at about 2:20 p.m. local time while the car was traveling underground between two stations, the St. Petersburg Metro said in a statement, according to the AFP. A spokesman for the city’s governor confirmed that at least 10 people have died and 50 others were wounded, the Associated Press reports. The identities and ages of the victims have not yet been released.
Was it a terrorist attack?
The explosion is under investigation. It’s unclear whether the device was left in the car purposefully when it exploded between the Sennaya Ploschad and Tekhnologichesky Institut stations. Authorities later found and deactivated a bomb at another St. Petersburg subway station, according to the AP, which cited a Russian anti-terrorism committee. The city is considered Russia’s most popular tourist destination, and its metro system is the 19th busiest in the world, the BBC and AP report. More than 2 million people travel through it daily.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said investigators are looking into all causes of the blast, including terrorism, according to the BBC. It’s unclear if authorities have any leads or suspects yet. “Law enforcement agencies and intelligence services are doing their best to establish the cause and give a full picture of what happened,” Putin said, according to the AP.
What happens next?
All subway stations in St. Petersburg have been closed and authorities have tightened security in Moscow’s major transport hubs, the AP reports.
“We are considering all causes, including terrorism.” – Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is in St. Petersburg for a meeting with Belarussian leader Alexander Lukashenko, said the cause of the blasts was not clear and efforts were underway to find out. He said he was considering all possibilities including terrorism.
A Reuters witness saw eight ambulances near the Sennaya
Ploshchad metro station. Three stations have been closed, local media outlet Fontanka reported.
Video showed injured people lying bleeding on a platform, some being treated by emergency services. Others ran away from the platform amid clouds of smoke.
Russia has been the target of attacks by Chechen militants in past years. Chechen rebel leaders have frequently threatened further attacks.
At least 38 people were killed in 2010 when two female suicide bombers detonated bombs on packed Moscow metro trains.
There was only one blast in St Peterburg’s metro system which happened in a train in between two stations, a source in Russia’s emergency services said on Monday.
“There was one blast in one site in between (stations) as the train arrived at the Technology Institute station from Sennaya (Ploshchad) station,” the source told Reuters.
Russian media reported earlier that there were two blasts.