At least 11 people were confirmed to be dead and over 43 injured after a bomb blast ripped through a train carriage on 3 April 2017, as it was travelling between two metro stations in Saint Petersburg, Russia’s second-largest city.
The blast happened while Russian President Vladimir Putin was visiting the city, his hometown. While the police initially suspected that the exploding device had been left on the train by the attacker, later they claimed that it had in fact been caused by a suicide bomber.
• The explosion occurred around 2.30pm local time after the train had left Sennaya Ploshchad metro station.
• The train driver decided to continue to the next station, Tekhnologichesky Institut, in order to make evacuation easier.
• The blast was mainly felt in the carriage where the device had been detonated, three from the front of the train.
• A second and much larger explosive device was found and defused at a different metro station, Ploshchad Vosstaniya, in the centre of the city.
• The second bomb, which was disguised as a fire extinguisher, had been rigged with shrapnel. It would have been several times more powerful than the first.
• Investigators suspect that the attack was carried out by a suicide bomber who left the explosive at the metro station before boarding the train with the other device.
Putin while expressing his condolences to the families of the victims said that it was too early to say what had caused the blast but he confirmed that it could be a criminal or terrorist. Putin also visited the Tekhnologichesky Institut metro station to lay flowers in the memory of the victims.
Though the police suspect radical Islamists with links to Islamic State to be involved in the blast, no claims of responsibility have yet been made by any terrorist group.
Ever since Russia entered the war in Syria in September 2015, supporters of Islamic state warned that the country would be a target. In October 2015, St Petersburg was struck again by terrorism when a civilian airliner carrying Russian tourists back home to the city from Red Sea resort in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt was shot down, killing all on board. Islamic State had claimed responsibility for the attack calling it a revenge for Putin’s military intervention in Syria.
St Petersburg's metro system is the 19th busiest in the world, with a footfall of more than two million passengers each day.The current attack led to the suspension of metro services and security was stepped at the city’s international airport. The city’s governor, Georgy Poltavchenko, called for three-day mourning over the incident.
The attack was condemned by leaders across the world including Indian Prime Minister, US President Donald Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who all called it a terrible incident. The 15-member United Nations Security Council also called for the perpetrators of the attack to face justice.