At least 14 people were killed in a blast at a railway station in the city of Volgograd, southern Russia this afternoon, 34 were injured, 8 critical. A female suicide bomber is suspected of carrying out the attack, RT reports.
The blast took place at 12:45 local time (5:45 AM NY time), inside the station building.
“At 12:45 we were informed that a blast was heard in the building of the railway station, Volgograd-1. Smoke was reported,” police spokesperson Svetlana Smolyaninova told RIA Novosti.
The explosion at the station was estimated to be caused by at least 22 pounds of TNT. The explosive device was stuffed inside a heap of scrap metal.
Interfax cited a source saying that “the blast happened near the metal detectors located at the entrance to the station.”
The bomber’s identity has not been established yet. A genetic examination has been ordered.
One witness said he had seen “two bodies lying in front of the entrance, pieces of shattered glass are everywhere, there’s a ton of rubble there.” He added that “apparently, the explosion led to a fire, which the firefighters quickly put out.”
Another witness said that the windows on both levels of the station have been shattered and that “the police have cordoned off the area, nobody’s allowed on the premises. There’s a very heavy police presence, emergency ministry officials, bomb squads… it’s understandable that people are afraid, but there aren’t any screams or panicking.”
According to one of the accounts shared tweeter, people around the station thought a plane had crashed, because of the thick fog.
“The blast was really strong so my mother and everybody around thought there was a plane crash,” a woman said. “Somebody shouted: there is an explosion inside the railway station. My mother said there was a lot of smoke.”
Last Friday, a suicide bomb exploded in the city of Pyatigorsk in southern Russia. 3 were killed. Volgograd is a much larger city, of about 1 million residents. It’s located about 430 miles from Sochi, were the 2014 Winter Olympics are scheduled to be held.
Volgograd, in the northern Caucasian mountains, is the capital of this largely Muslim region. Doku (Dokka) Khamatovich Umarov, a Muslim-Chechen leaders, has called on his people to do all they can to deny Russia the winter games, which are so cherished by President Vladimir Putin.