The excerpts below are from The Daily Mail. Be warned: the original article includes graphic photos. Sensitive readers are advised not to click the link.
Hunt for ‘Black Widow’ Terror Gang After Female Suicide Bombers Kill at Least 37 in Bomb Attacks on Moscow Trains- - - - - - - - -
Police in Moscow were tonight searching for female accomplices of two women suicide bombers who killed at least 37 people and injured 65 by targeting two packed tube trains during the busy rush hour.
President Dmitry Medvedev declared Russia would act ‘without compromise’ to root out terrorists as he ordered airports to be put on alert and security to be stepped up throughout the country.
The two bombs are the worst attack on the Russian capital for six years and no group has yet claimed responsibility.
But suspicion has fallen on Muslim militants from the North Caucasus, where the Kremlin is fighting a growing Islamist insurgency spreading from Chechnya to neighbouring Dagestan and Ingushetia.
Alexander Bortnikov, head of Russia’s Federal Security Service, said the terrorists were likely to have been ‘black widows’, Muslim women radicalised by the situation in the North Caucasus.
‘Body parts belonging to two female suicide bombers were found and, according to initial data, these persons are linked to the north Caucasus,’ he said.
Police are tonight expected to publish CCTV images of the suicide bombers, along with two women of ‘Slav appearance’ who accompanied them.
Witnesses spoke of panic at the two underground stations this morning after the blasts as people fell over each other in dense smoke and dust, trying to escape.
The first explosion tore through the second carriage of a metro train just before 8am as it stood at the Lubyanka station, close to the headquarters of Russia’s main domestic security service FSB. It killed at least 23 people.
About 40 minutes later, another blast in the second carriage of a train waiting at the Park Kultury metro station, opposite Gorky Park, killed 12 to 14 more people.
Both bombers wore explosive belts packed with bolts and iron rods to maximise casualties.
The bombers have believed to have been identified from surveillance videos inside the Red Arrow underground trains.
Analysis of footage from other cameras in Moscow Metro stations has also helped identify the faces of two women and a man.
The report also quoted a source saying earlier that the female suicide bombers boarded the train at Yugo-Zapadnaya station in southwest Moscow.
Surveillance camera footage posted on the internet showed several motionless bodies lying on the floor or slumped against the wall in Lubyanka station lobby and emergency workers crouched over victims, trying to treat them.
Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov told reporters that female suicide bombers had carried out the attacks.
Prosecutors said they had opened a ‘terrorism investigation’ after forensic experts found the remains of a female bomber.
The Russian rouble fell to 34.25 from 34.13 against the central bank’s euro-dollar basket, on concern the blasts could indicate the start of a bombing campaign against Russian cities.
Russian equity markets were little changed, with the rouble denominated MICEX index up 0.04 percent.
The current death toll makes it the worst attack on Moscow since February 2004, when a suicide bombing killed at least 39 people and wounded more than 100 on a metro train.
Chechen separatists were blamed for that attack and suspicions are likely to focus on the North Caucasus where rebel leader Doku Umarov, who is fighting for an Islamic emirate embracing the whole region, vowed on Feb 15 to take the war to Russian cities.
‘Blood will no longer be limited to our (Caucasus) cities and towns. The war is coming to their cities,’ the Chechen rebel leader said in an interview on the unofficial Islamist website.
Hat tip: JD.