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Female bombers strike Moscow metro, 38 dead

Last updated on: March 29, 2010 19:25 IST

Female bombers strike Moscow metro, 37 dead

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Two suicide bombers, believed to be females, targeted Moscow's busy subway system during the morning rush hour on Monday killing at least 38 people and injuring over 60 others in twin blasts near the Kremlin and the Federal Security Service headquarters.

The explosions termed by authorities as a terror attack occurred within 50 minutes of each other at Moscow metro's oldest Red Line stations that are junctions for transfer to other lines.

The first blast took place at 7.56 am local time (9.26 am IST) at Lubyanka station were an unknown explosive device went on inside the second carriage of a train killing 14 passengers and 11 people waiting on the platform.

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Image: A woman cries as Interior Ministry officers block her way in front of the exit of Lubyanka metro station in Moscow
Photographs: Alexander Natruskin/Reuters
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The station in central Moscow is situated under the headquarters of the former Soviet secret police KGB, now housing Federal Security Service (FSB), and is also close to the Kremlin.

The second blast took place at the Park Kultury station near the Gorky Park in the third carriage of the train heading for the city centre, killing at least 12 people and injuring another 12 passengers, Emergency situations ministry spokesperson Irina Adrianova told state-run Rossiya 24 news channel.

The blasts were carried out by female suicide bombers, according to preliminary investigation by the FSB press office.

The bodies of the suicide bombers have been recovered from the blast sites on both the stations.

Meanwhile, the police have cordoned off the roads near the Lubyanka square and Park Kultury station and ambulance helicopters are landing there to evacuate the injured.


Image: A general view shows a site near Park Kultury metro station in Moscow
Photographs: Denis Sinyakov/Reuters
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Female bombers strike Moscow metro

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The Moscow prosecutor has confirmed the death of 37 people, while the number of injured on the Park Kultury station has risen to 20 and more people are being evacuated.

The spokesperson of the Prosecutor's Investigation Committee Vladimir Markin said the case of terror attacks have been opened in the two blasts.

Meanwhile, a column of black smoke was seen rising from the Park Kultury metro station and traffic chaos resulted at the nearby Garden Ring Road.

The rescuers have pressed helicopters into service to evacuate the injured to hospitals. Special buses have been pressed in to take stranded passengers to their destination.

The Red Line, Moscow's oldest metro line traverses the Russian capital from north-east to south-west and has transfer links with all the city underground lines.


Image: Interior Ministry officers walk out from Park Kultury metro station in Moscow
Photographs: Denis Sinyakov/Reuters
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On weekdays at least one million commuters use this line on which several railway stations are also located.

The blasts in the underground railway stations have revived the nightmare Moscow had witnessed on February 6, 2004 when a suicide bomb blast on a moving metro train had claimed 42 lives.

Same year in August in a botched attack 10 people were killed outside another metro station. Since then the perpetrators and organisers linked to Chechen terrorists were apprehended and sentenced.

The local media says the possibility that the fresh attack could be a revenge for the killing of two prominent warlords in security operations in Chechnya, including an Arab and a Russian converted to Islam, cannot be ruled out.


Image: A helicopter of the Russian Emergencies Ministry prepares to ascend near the Lubyanka metro station in Moscow
Photographs: Stringer Russia/Reuters
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AGENCIES