Wednesday 18 October 2017

Emergency officials close a St Petersburg station following fresh bomb threat

A subway train hit by a explosion stays at the Tekhnologichesky Institut subway station in St.Petersburg, Russia, Monday, April 3, 2017. Image: AP
A subway train hit by a explosion stays at the Tekhnologichesky Institut subway station in St.Petersburg, Russia, Monday, April 3, 2017. Image: AP
Tributes have been laid outside stations in St Petersburg after the bomb blast (AP)
Russian president Vladimir Putin lays flowers near the Technological Institute station in St Petersburg (AP)
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarus' President Alexander Lukashenko arrive for a news conference following their talks at Konstantin palace in St.Petersburg, Russia REUTERS/Dmitri Lovetsky/Pool
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Emergency officials said they have closed a St Petersburg subway station following a bomb threat.

It follows the bombing of a St Petersburg train which killed 14 people on Monday.

Police today confirmed that the suspect is a native of Kyrgyzstan who obtained Russian citizenship, the Central Asian country's security service says.

Kyrgyzstan, a predominantly Muslim Central Asian nation of six million, is Russia's close political ally and hosts a Russian military airbase.

A police officer, left, and people walk past the damaged train at the Tekhnologichesky Institut subway station in St Petersburg (AP video via AP)
A police officer, left, and people walk past the damaged train at the Tekhnologichesky Institut subway station in St Petersburg (AP video via AP)

A spokesman for the Kyrgyz security service identified the suspect as Akbarzhon Jalilov, born in the city of Osh in 1995. He provided no other details.

This morning, Russian health minister Veronika Skvortsova confirmed the death toll had risen to 14.

Russian authorities said they were investigating a suspected suicide bombing on Monday after the blast, which struck a crowded metro train near the historic city centre at 2:20 local time, and came as Vladimir Putin was visiting the city. 

Shortly afterwards a larger, unexploded device was reported to have been found at one of the city’s busiest metro stations, prompting authorities to close the entire underground transport system. Search warrants were issued for two people.

"A blast occurred at Sennaya Ploshchad metro station,” a police source told the Russian news agency Tass, “several people have been injured."

 Witnesses on board the crowded train said it was shaken by a “thundering clap” that filled the carriages with smoke shortly after it left the station.

“We all moved to the opposite end of the wagon, people jammed together and two women passed out. This all was happening while the train was still moving, it didn't stop,” Polina, a student who was in the neighbouring carriage, told Gazeta.ru.

The driver of the train won praise for deciding to continue to the next station, Technologichesky Institute, rather than stopping in the tunnel, a move that investigators said probably saved lives and made it easier for rescuers to reach the injured.

Photographs from the station platform showed a blue train carriage with its door reduced mangled and twisted by the force of the blast.

US president Donald Trump has called Vladimir Putin to offer condolences over the St Petersburg tube bombing.

The Kremlin said Mr Trump offered sympathy to the families of the victims of Monday's blast and asked President Putin to convey his support for the Russian people.

Mr Putin thanked Mr Trump for the expression of solidarity, the Kremlin said, adding that the two leaders voiced a shared view that "terrorism is an evil that must be fought jointly".

Reuters

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