‘Black widows’ kill 38 in Moscow suicide attacks: Manhunt for bombers’ accomplices after rush-hour carnage
By Will Stewart and Sam Greenhill
Two ‘black widow’ suicide bombers were yesterday being blamed by Russian authorities for the deaths of at least 38 commuters in terror blasts on the Moscow underground.
There was carnage after the women detonated their explosive vests 40 minutes apart during morning rush hour.
Last night Russia was on full alert with a massive manhunt under way for the bombers’ accomplices amid fears of further attacks.
Vladimir Putin, the country’s Prime Minister and former President, vowed vengeance on the terrorists who also wounded 65 commuters.
Although no group immediately claimed responsibility, speculation centred on them being so-called ‘black widow’ killers avenging the deaths of fathers, brothers and husbands by Russian troops in Chechnya.
The first blast was at 7.56am local time (4.56am UK) at Lubyanka station, immediately underneath the headquarters of the KGB, now the Federal Security Bureau (FSB).
The other was at 8.36am (5.36am UK) at Park Kultury station, near Gorky Park but also close to the Interior Ministry.
In both cases, the bombs were detonated as the trains pulled into the stations and the doors were opening.
State television showed dazed, bloody passengers in the ornate metro stations as dust and smoke swirled through the tunnel.
The suspected suicide bomber killed in the Park Kultury blast was last night said to aged between 18 and 20. The other bomber was said to be ‘older’.
Police said they had been accompanied to the metro by two other women aged 25 to 30 and a male ‘ringleader’ in his 30s and with the surname Mataev.
‘They are simply beasts,’ said Russian President Dmitry Medvedev after visiting the platform of the Lubyanka metro station. ‘We will find and destroy them all.’
There were unconfirmed reports that they had set off the bombs using their mobile phones.
Reports said the young girl’s facial features were sufficiently intact to assist police investigating the bombings.
One official said: ‘Only her head and legs are left – and the middle part of her body is completely destroyed. This is a definite sign that she had a shahid suicide belt on. She was a very young woman with beautiful brown hair, long and in a thick plait.’
Rescuers revealed the bombs had been filled with small fragments of metal to maximise damage.
But the carnage could have been far worse if the trains were in tunnels-rather than stations when the blasts occurred.Analysts are warning of a potential spillover from an insurgency in neighbouring Russia’s mainly Muslim southern republics.Azerbaijan said last night it had detained eight people including a Chechen man on suspicion of planning ‘terrorist acts’ against a school in the capital of the state.
Earlier last year Russia announced that they were ending their counter terrorism operation, and were pulling their troops out of Chechnya. They had allowed Chechnya to govern under self rule with the brutal Ramzan Kadyrov running the show. This was supposed to bring in peace, but as see across the world, there will be no peace with the religion of war.