At least 11 people have been killed and dozens more are injured after a bomb tore through a metro train in the Russian city of St. Petersburg, according to local officials. A second bomb was defused at a metro station elsewhere in the city.
The explosion happened at about 2:40 p.m. local time on Monday when a passenger train was traveling on a line between the Tekhnologichesky Institut and Sennaya Ploshchad metro stations. The train came to a stop at Sennaya station.
Russia’s health minister confirmed that at least 11 people had been killed in the blast, which was mostly contained to a single train carriage. Another 51 people were injured, including 4 people who were reported to be in a critical condition.
About 20 minutes after the attack, a second bomb with shrapnel inside was discovered at the Ploshchad Vosstaniya metro station in St. Petersburg. The station was evacuated and the bomb was defused, according to a statement from the National Anti-Terrorism Committee (NAC).
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Monday’s deadly attack, but Russia’s Investigative Committee said it had opened a criminal investigation on suspicion of a terrorist act. A source told the Interfax news agency that 2 possible suspects are being sought.
“Investigators are continuing to work at the site of the emergency .. to establish the circumstances of the incident,” said Svetlana Petrenko, a spokeswoman for the prosecutor’s office. She said the actions of the train driver may have prevented more fatalities.
“The explosion occurred on the track between the stations, but the driver took the correct decision not to stop the train until he reached the station, which immediately allowed him to start the evacuation and help the injured,” Petrenko explained. “It is possible that this helped to prevent even more victims.”
The entire St. Petersburg metro system has been shut down as a result of the attack, causing heavy gridlock across the city. Security measures have been stepped up in St. Petersburg as well as at transportation sites in the capital Moscow.
In France, security measures have been increased at transportation sites across Île-de-France, which includes the capital Paris. “Our vigilance is at maximum and the mobilization of the security forces is total,” the interior ministry said, calling it a precautionary measure.
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