At least 10 people were killed and another 50 people were injured after an explosion on a metro train of the St. Petersburg Metro system, in the Russian city, on Monday afternoon, Russian authorities said. Victims said there were children among the injured in the explosion that has forced the shutdown of the entire metro system of the Russian city as bomb squads and rescuers respond to the emergency.
Russian media reported that the blast took place at the Sennaya Ploshchad metro station in the city’s center around 2.30 pm (local time) along the blue line of the underground metro service. The explosion happened as the train was travelling between the stations Tekhnologichesky Institut and Sennaya Ploshchad of the St. Petersburg Metro, the National Antiterrorism Committee confirmed.
The metro service said an explosive device was detonated on a train at the Sennaya Ploshchad station in Russia’s second city. News agency Interfax cited a source as saying the blast involved an explosive device filled with shrapnel.
The cause of the blast has not yet been determined but Russia’s Vladimir President Putin said, he is considering all possibilities and causes including terrorism.
President Vladimir Putin arrived in St. Petersburg on Monday to meet his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko at an annual media forum sponsored by a Kremlin-backed political movement. Mr Putin expressed his condolences after the “possible terror attack”.
“The reasons are yet unclear so it’s early to talk about them. The investigation will tell. But, obviously, we always consider all options: grassroots and criminal, first and foremost, acts of terrorism,” he said.
People shared photographs from the scene showed a metro train in the station with one set of doors blown out, and a number of people on the ground with injuries.
В Питере взрыв в метро pic.twitter.com/HZvq7tqwXd
— Philipp Kireev (@mynameisphiIipp) April 3, 2017
— RT (@RT_com) April 3, 2017
Ambulances, fire engines and police vehicles covered on the concrete-and-glass Sennaya Ploshchad metro station. Around eight ambulances have been sent to the spot and 80 rescue and emergency workers are at the scene. The whole of the city’s metro network was closed in the aftermath of the blast, and a number of streets at ground level were also shut off, as medical helicopters landed at the scene to evacuate the injured.
Russia’s public transportation system has been attacked in the past. The country has been the target of attacks by Chechen militants in past years and Chechen rebel leaders have frequently threatened for further attacks.
Two subway stations in central Moscow were attacked by two female suicide bombers on March 29, 2010, detonated their bombs on packed metro trains, killing at least 41 people. In September, a suicide bomber detonated explosives at a station north of Moscow, killing at least 9. Another suicide raid on Moscow’s Domodedovo airport in January 2011, that killed 37 people and the suicide bomb attack was claimed by Islamic insurgents from the North Caucasus.
Over 330 people, half of them children (186 children), were killed in 2004 when police stormed a school in southern Russia after a hostage taking by Islamist militants (Insurgents belonging to the Riyad-us Saliheen Brigade of Martyrs insurgents, fighting for Chechen independence, carried out the siege). In 2002, 120 hostages were killed when police stormed a Moscow theatre to end another hostage taking.