Moscow saw its second suicide attack in less than 12 months on Monday as a terrorist assault on the Russian capital’s busiest airport left over 30 dead, officials said.
Preliminary reports suggest a bomb was detonated by a suicide bomber as passengers arrived at Domodedovo airport’s international arrivals gate at 4:40 p.m. (13:40 GMT).
Health and emergency officials said 35 people died and many dozens more were injured.
Planes from London and Brussels, as well as Greece, Ukraine and Egypt, had landed in the 30 minutes preceding the attack. A British Airways plane heading for Domodedovo returned to London when the news broke.
Law enforcement officials said the power of the blast was equal to 5 kg of TNT and that the bomb was packed with metal objects to cause maximum damage. A RIA Novosti correspondent at the scene reported floors and staircases covered in blood.
YouTube footage showed the bodies of the dead and injured lying in a smoke-filled arrivals zone.
Media reports of second suicide bomber have not been confirmed.
A visibly shaken President Dmitry Medvedev told officials in a televised meeting that, “From the preliminary information we have, it was a terrorist attack.” [...]
A law enforcement source told RIA Novosti that the security services were aware that terrorists were planning an attack on a Moscow airport, but were unable to locate and detain the three suspects they had been searching for.
Comments by Russian bloggers suggested that there was free access, without security checks, to the arrivals gates….
More: “Suicide bomber kills 35 at Russia’s biggest airport,” by Alexei Anishchuk for the Associated Press, January 24:
MOSCOW (Reuters) – A suicide bomber killed at least 35 people at Russia’s biggest airport on Monday in an attack that bore the hallmarks of militants fighting for an Islamist state in the north Caucasus region.
Timed for maximum casualties:
President Dmitry Medvedev vowed to track down and punish those behind the bombing, which also injured about 130 people, including foreigners, during the busy late afternoon at Moscow’s Domodedovo airport. Dense smoke filled the hall and a fire burned along one wall. [...]
The Kremlin said Medvedev, who has called the insurgency in the north Caucasus the biggest threat to Russia’s security, delayed his departure for the Davos international business forum in Switzerland.
The rebels have vowed to take their bombing campaign from the violence-wracked north Caucasus to the Russian heartland, hitting transport and economic targets. They have also leveled threats at the 2014 Winter Olympics, scheduled for Sochi, a region they claim as part of their “emirate.” [...]
No group has yet taken responsibility for the attack, but dozens of Internet surfers, writing in Russian, praised the suicide bomber on unofficial Islamist site kavkazcenter.com….