Russian investigators search flat of suspected metro bomber's acquaintances

Bruno Cirelli
Aprile 20, 2017

More than a day since a deadly blast rocked a train vehicle in the St. Petersburg Metro, investigators have established and reported on some of the details pertaining to the apparent terrorist attack.

Russian investigators said they had detained several suspected accomplices of Akbarzhon Jalilov, born in mainly Muslim Kyrgyzstan, who is the suspected bomber in Monday's metro blast.

A Russian law enforcement source said the attack was carried out by a suspected suicide bomber with ties to radical Islamists, according to Russia's Interfax news agency.

The committee, the nation's top criminal investigation agency, said investigators also found objects that would help advance the probe during a search of the home on St. Petersburg's eastern outskirts.

The parents of the suspected suicide bomber in Monday's deadly explosion on the St. Petersburg subway have arrived in St. Petersburg for questioning.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the explosion in Saint Petersburg, which comes after the Islamic State group called for attacks on Russian Federation in retribution for its military intervention in Syria fighting against the jihadists.

Russia's health minister on Tuesday raised the death toll from 11 to 14 and said 49 people were still hospitalized.

The blast hit a train travelling between two stations in the western city's centre during mid-afternoon.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who was visiting Saint Petersburg at the time of the blast, went to the site late on Monday.

"When I turned back and looked, there were a huge number of people lying there, there were dead bodies", said Natalya Kirrillova, a witness.

Russian authorities said they were probing an "act of terror".

Soldatov said the risk of attacks in Russia had "increased very much" and that the Russian special services have never had a real strategy to fight terrorism.

Resident Dmitry Leonov said there was a sense of shock that terror could strike the city as he picked his way through the candles and flower tributes lining the gates of the station.

Russian investigators have also reportedly confirmed the name of the suspect, who had previously obtained Russian citizenship.

The explosion happened about 2:40pm (local time), well ahead of the evening rush hour, on a train that was leaving the Technology Institute station and heading to the Sennaya Square station, the National Anti-Terrorism Committee said.

Authorities closed all St Petersburg metro stations.

A blast at a nightclub in Istanbul on New Year's Eve that killed 39 people involved a suspect from the same part of central Asia. "We know that each of our countries, practically every one, is a possible and potential target of terrorist attacks".

Moscow took what it called "additional security measures" on its metro. Chechen rebel leader Doku Umarov claimed responsibility for the attack, warning Russian leaders that "the war is coming to their cities".

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