11 killed, 50 injured in Minsk metro blast
A MASSIVE explosion ripped through a crowded metro station in the centre of the Belarusian capital Minsk during evening rush hour yesterday, killing 11 people and injuring more than 50.
The state news agency BelTA said the blast occurred at 5.55pm local time at the metro station Oktyabrskaya, about 100 metres from the administration building of President Alexander Lukashenko.
There was no official word as to whether the blast had been caused by a bomb or an accident.
But a city police spokesman said Minsk had been placed on "heightened alert" after an explosion caused by an "unknown explosive device". He said: "We are looking at all possible versions of what happened."
Victims were carried out of the station and the injured were given on-the-spot medical treatment by ambulance workers and sent to hospital.
A 52-year-old man who gave his name as Igor said a train was coming into the station when the blast occurred on the platform.
"The doors (of the train) opened and then there was an explosion. I saw people lying on the floor without moving. There was a lot of blood."
Political tension has been high in Belarus since an election on December 19 gave Mr Lukashenko a fourth term in power, to the dismay of the opposition and the West, which denounced the vote as fraudulent.
Mr Lukashenko visited the site of the blast and called an emergency meeting last night.