11 dead, 100 injured in blast at Belarus metro station

Explosion occurs in capital of Minsk as train enters station during evening rush hour; no indication of whether blast was a bomb or accident.

Minsk explosion 311 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Minsk explosion 311
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Eleven people were killed andabout 100 were injured in a metro blast in the Belarussiancapital Minsk on Monday, President Alexander Lukashenko wasquoted as saying by Interfax news agency.
The state news agency BelTA said the blast occurred at 5.55p.m. (1455 GMT) at the metro station Oktyabrskaya on a square ofthe same name about 100 meters (yards) from the administrationbuilding of President Alexander Lukashenko.
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There was no official word as to whether the blast had beencaused 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 "unknownexplosive device." "We are looking at all possible versions ofwhat happened," he told journalists.
Lukashenko visited the site of the blast and called anemergency meeting of key ministers for later in the evening. Anofficial statement was expected after that.
If the explosion was an act of deliberate violence it wouldbe extremely unusual for Belarus, a tightly policed ex-Sovietrepublic of 10 million people which shares borders with EUmembers Poland, Latvia and Lithuania and with Russia andUkraine.
In July 2008, a home-made bomb sprayed nuts and bolts into acrowd attending an open air concert in Minsk attended byLukashenko, wounding about 50 people.
Victims were carried out of the station and the injured weregiven on-the-spot medical treatment by ambulance workers andsent to hospital.
A Reuters correspondent saw at least one dead person lyingon the ground, covered by sheeting, and a correspondent forInterfax news agency said he saw two dead bodies.
A 52-year-old man who gave his name as Igor said a train wascoming into the station when the blast occurred on the platform.
"The doors (of the train) opened and then there was anexplosion," he said. "I saw people lying on the floor withoutmoving. There was a lot of blood."
Other witnesses quoted by news outlets spoke of a flash anda bang and debris falling from the ceiling of the metro station.