Minsk explosion 311.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Eleven people were killed and
about 100 were injured in a metro blast in the Belarussian
capital Minsk on Monday, President Alexander Lukashenko was
quoted as saying by Interfax news agency.
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The state news agency BelTA said the blast occurred at 5.55
p.m. (1455 GMT) at the metro station Oktyabrskaya on a square of
the same name about 100 meters (yards) from the administration
building of President Alexander Lukashenko.
There was no official word as to whether the blast had been
caused by a bomb or an accident.
But a city police spokesman said Minsk had been placed on
"heightened alert" after an explosion caused by an "unknown
explosive device." "We are looking at all possible versions of
what happened," he told journalists.
Lukashenko visited the site of the blast and called an
emergency meeting of key ministers for later in the evening. An
official statement was expected after that.
If the explosion was an act of deliberate violence it would
be extremely unusual for Belarus, a tightly policed ex-Soviet
republic of 10 million people which shares borders with EU
members Poland, Latvia and Lithuania and with Russia and
In July 2008, a home-made bomb sprayed nuts and bolts into a
crowd attending an open air concert in Minsk attended by
Lukashenko, wounding about 50 people.
Victims were carried out of the station and the injured were
given on-the-spot medical treatment by ambulance workers and
sent to hospital.
A Reuters correspondent saw at least one dead person lying
on the ground, covered by sheeting, and a correspondent for
Interfax news agency said he saw two dead bodies.
A 52-year-old man who gave his name as Igor said a train was
coming into the station when the blast occurred on the platform.
"The doors (of the train) opened and then there was an
explosion," he said. "I saw people lying on the floor without
moving. There was a lot of blood."
Other witnesses quoted by news outlets spoke of a flash and
a bang and debris falling from the ceiling of the metro station.