Woman terrorist may be behind Moscow airport bombing

Video shows woman, accompanied by man, opening suitcase right prior to explosion; Officials say attack done in North Caucasus scheme.

January 25, 2011 18:09
2 minute read.
Suicide bombing in Moscow Domodedovo Airport

Moscow airport bombing 311. (photo credit: AP)

The terror attack that was carried out at Moscow's Domodedovo Airport Monday may have been caused by two suicide bombers, one female, a law enforcement source said to official Russian news outlet Ria Novostri. According to the source "The blast occurred when a suspected female terrorist opened a bag. She was accompanied by a man whose head was ripped off by the explosion."

Both bombers died in the explosion that ripped through the international baggage-claim at 4:32 p.m., killing 35 and wounding up to 170 people.  The blast, which was equivalent to 5 kilograms of TNT, was packed with shrapnel to cause the most possible damage.

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Explosion shakes Moscow airport; at least 35 dead

"The terror attack was done according to a scheme that is used by terrorists from the North Caucasus region," the law enforcement source added. "The [2004] blasts at the Rizhskaya subway station and other explosions in the Moscow metro [2010] were carried out similarly, when the terrorists were accompanied by militants."

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said Tuesday that officials of the Moscow airport where a suicide bombing killed 35 people must bear responsibility for security failures there, but airport management contend Russian transport police were in charge.

The finger-pointing could further undermine confidence in Russia's security as Medvedev prepares for an appearance at the high-profile World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, to try to attract investors.

Two Britons, a German and a Bulgarian were among the those killed in the Monday afternoon explosion at Domodedovo Airport, according to the Emergencies Ministry. A further 110 people, including nine foreigners, were hospitalized with injuries, the ministry said.

No claims of responsibility for the blast have been issued, although Islamic militants in the southern Russian region of Chechnya have been blamed for previous attacks in Moscow, including a double suicide bombing on the capital's subway system in March 2010 that resulted in 40 deaths. If Monday's attack was by Chechen insurgents, it could indicate an ominous new strategy because unlike previous attacks it targeted an area where foreign citizens were likely to be victims.

"What happened shows that obviously there were violations in guaranteeing security. And it should be answered for by those who make decisions there and by the management of the airport," Medvedev said in comments released by the Kremlin on Tuesday.

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