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Volgograd railway station blast: LIVE UPDATES

Published time: December 29, 2013 10:00
Edited time: December 30, 2013 02:46
Image from twitter.com @Koblikov34

Image from twitter.com @Koblikov34

A blast ripped through a railway station in Volgograd in Russia’s south, killing at least 16 people. It was reportedly caused by a suicide bomber, who set off the bomb just before it could be discovered at a checkpoint.

Monday, December 30

02:46 GMT: The death toll in the Volgograd train station bombing has risen to 17, after one victim who was in critical condition died overnight, Interfax news agency reports, citing a local medical source.

02:20 GMT: The Ministry of Emergencies plane carrying seven victims of the Volgograd blast has landed in Moscow. The injured - among whom is a teenager - will be taken to Moscow’s top hospitals.

Sunday, December 29

23:42 GMT: Members of the ruling United Russia Party will return from recess to the State Duma on December 30 to discuss possible amendments to legislation following the attack in Volgograd, vice speaker of the lower house and United Russia leader Vladimir Vasiliev told ITAR-TASS.

23:34 GMT: The nine-year-old girl who was critically injured in the blast will be transported to Moscow in a day and a half or two days to receive further medical treatment, Health Ministry head Veronika Skvortsova told journalists.

23:21 GMT: Russia’s Ministry of Emergencies has sent another plane with medical equipment to Volgograd to aid those injured in the terror attack. Health Minister Veronika Skvortsova has already arrived in the southern Russian city to meet with both medics and victims.

22: 57 GMT: A security service member who was on duty at the train station also died in the terror bombing, according to the Interior Ministry. It was earlier reported that a Volgograd policeman sacrificed his life shielding others from the deadly blast.

21:46 GMT: Washington has strongly condemned the terror attack in Volgograd. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki expressed condolences to the families of the victims and solidarity with the Russian people.

19:16 GMT: UN Security Council has condemned the Volgograd bombing “in the strongest terms” and registered its condolences for the victims and their families, the body’s official statement reads.

18:52 GMT: The terror attack is “one in a long list,” Dr. Yoran Kahati from the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism told RT. “If it is true that it was carried out by this woman...of radical Islam, of Chechen origin, then this sort of attack happened before in the same area about two months ago. Even in Moscow itself…again by suicide…in one of the major airports.”

He attributed the attacks to the desire to raise awareness of issues surrounding Russia’s Caucuses on a global level, and also suggested that Sochi’s occurrence in six weeks held some sway. He said it was “to try to frighten to some extent, although it’s not clear if it’s going to be successful, participants of states taking part in Sochi; maybe because one can say ‘Well, it is not safe enough.’”

Kahati acknowledged that security levels are extremely high and underscored how such attacks occur in other parts of the world, mentioning the Chechen instigators of the Boston Marathon bombings in April. “To prevent such attacks we need very good intelligence, and of course cooperation.

17:45 GMT: According to the recent evidence, the suicide attack could have been carried out by both a woman and a man, Interfax reported.

17:37 GMT: Investigators have found new evidence that the suicide bomber could have been a man whose name has not been identified yet. Interfax news agency reported that a male finger with a pin from a grenade was found at the scene.

17:15 GMT: The terror attack is “one in a long list,” Dr. Yoran Kahati, from the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism, told RT. “If it is true that it was carried out by this woman …– of radical Islam, of Chechen origin – then this sort of attack happened before in the same area about two months ago. Even in Moscow itself…again by suicide…in one of the major airports.” He attributed the attacks to the want to raise awareness of issues surrounding Russia’s Caususes on a global level, and also suggested Sochi’s occurrence in six weeks held some sway. He said it was “to try to frighten to some extent-although it’s not clear if it’s going to be successful – participants of states taking part in Sochi- maybe because one can say ‘well, it is not safe enough….’ " Kahati acknowledged that security was super-high and underscored how such attacks occur in other part of the world, mentioning the Chechen instigators of the Boston Bombings in April. “To prevent such attacks we need very good intelligence, and of course cooperation.”

16:25 GMT: Volgograd regional government has confirmed that the death toll from the suicide attack has reached 16 people, following the deaths of two additional victims at local hospitals.

16:20 GMT: Volgograd railway station immediately after the blast.

Video: /files/news/21/ad/40/00/1186416_opervol_web_480p.mp4

16:19 GMT: The European Council has condemned “in the strongest terms the heinous” terror attack in Volgograd. The Council’s president, Herman Van Rompuy, has expressed “heartfelt condolences” to the families of the victims and “solidarity to the Government and people of Russia."

16:15 GMT: The regional government has set the terror threat level at “yellow,” the second highest, for the next 15 days.

15:57 GMT: The death toll in the Volgograd bombing has reached 16 as another man has died in hospital, the Itar-Tass news agency reported, citing its sources.

14:57 GMT: So far, a total nine of 15 victims – six men and three women – have been identified.

14:50 GMT: Preliminary identified suicide bomber Oksana Aslanova. She has reportedly been on a wanted list since June 2012.

14:34 GMT: A source in the law enforcement department in Russia’s Republic of Dagestan has confirmed to RIA Novosti news agency that, according to preliminary information, Oksana Aslanova carried out the attack.

14:25 GMT: Six suicide bombing victims, aged from their 20’s to their 50’s have been identified.

14:20 GMT: The US Ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul, has given his condolences to the relatives of the slain and injured in the Volgograd blast. The statement was published on his Twitter account.

14:16 GMT: NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen offered condolences to families of the victims. He has condemned the deadly terror attack.

F1 grenade (Image from wiki.org)

14:12 GMT: The suicide bomber has been preliminary identified as Oksana Aslanova, according to LifeNews channel. She is said to have been married twice to two militants. Both of her husbands have been reportedly eliminated, according to LifeNews, which didn't disclose its sources. Aslanova is also said to be a close friend of Naida Asiyalova, also known as ‘Amaturahman,’ who was behind the attack in Volgograd in October, when six were killed and 30 injured.

14:06 GMT: President Vladimir Putin has ordered law enforcement chiefs to investigate the tragedy and find those behind the suicide bombing.

“Vladimir Putin instructed the Ministers and the heads of law enforcement departments to take all necessary measures to establish the causes and circumstances of the incident, identify and bring to justice those who are behind it,”
Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov said.

13:46 GMT: Among the 35 victims of the deadly Volgograd blast, there were people from four Russian regions and an Armenian citizen.

13:14 GMT: Another Emergencies Ministry’s plane with medical personnel and equipment is ready to take off from an air field in Moscow and fly to Volgograd. The first plane recently landed in Volgograd.

12:26 GMT: Of the 34 people injured by the Volgograd blast eight are in a serious condition, including the girl, the Health Ministry said. One person is in critical condition. Other patients are being examined.

12:19 GMT: The updated death toll from the suicide bombing is 14 people, Investigative Committee’s Markin, said. 34 people are in hospital in the wake of the attack. The remains of the bomber have been recovered at the scene, he confirmed.

The bomber apparently set off her bomb when she saw a police officer approaching her at the railway checkpoint, Markin said.

Aftermath of a suicide attack in Volgograd, on December 29, 2013 (AFP Photo / Stringer)

12:11 GMT: The Emergencies Ministry has sent a fully equipped plane from Moscow to Volgograd, which would be able to transport up to 20 people back to the Russian capital. Medical personnel, including experienced trauma surgeons, neurosurgeons and other specialists, are on board.

12:07 GMT: The child injured in the blast is a nine-year-old girl. Volgograd mayor, Irina Guseva, told Interfax. The girl’s mother shielded her with her own body, which allowed her to survive the blast, but she remains in a serious condition.

Guseva added that taxi drivers, who were waiting for clients right next to the railway station, were among the first responders to the disaster and helped with taking the victims to hospital. “If it were not for them, there would be more people dead,” she said.

11:51 GMT: Russia’s council of mufti, “angrily condemns the actions of terrorists, who commit a grievous sin by killing innocent people,” the Russian Muslim cooperation organization said in a statement, adding that Islam has nothing to do with the crimes, which terrorist commit under the false pretense of following the religion’s precepts.

“We mourn and pray to the Almighty to give patience and courage to the families of the victims and swift recovery to those suffering from this terrible attack,” the statement said.

11:49 GMT: The bomb used by the Volgograd suicide bomber was equivalent to at least 10 kg of TNT, the Investigative Committee said. The explosive core was covered with metal fragments to make the bomb more deadly.

11:45 GMT: Investigators have recovered the head of the suspected suicide bomber at Volgograd railway station, a security source told Interfax. This would facilitate identifying the attacker, the source said.

Earlier a photo surfaces showing metal rubble and what appears to be a charred human head with long hair lying among it. RT does not publish the graphic image due to ethical concerns.

11:44 GMT:

11:09 GMT: The Volgograd regional government will pay 1 million rubles ($30,000) to the families of all the people killed by the blast, Governor Sergey Bozhenov said.

11:05 GMT: A security checkpoint at the railway station stopped the suicide bomber and prevented her from entering the main waiting hall. Otherwise, the number of casualties would have been higher, spokesman for the Investigative Committee, Vladimir Markin, said.

10:59 GMT: The Volgograd region has declared three days of mourning for the victims of the railway station blast.

20:56 GMT: Three police officers were injured in the blast and one was killed, the Interior Ministry reported. One of the injured policemen is in serious condition. They were all manning the two metal detector checkpoints at the railway station.

Cadets from the local police academy have rushed to donate blood to local hospitals to help with the emergency.

10:55 GMT: 36 medical crews, including 3 specialized trauma units, have been deployed in Volgograd at the site of the railway station bombing, the Health Ministry reported.

10:51 GMT: The blast happened about 30 minutes before the Volgograd arrival of a train from Moscow, which may have been the intended target of the suicide bomber.

10:46 GMT: President Vladimir Putin ordered taking all necessary measures to assist survivors and provide security in Volgograd following the deadly blast, the Kremlin said.

10:40 GMT:

10:37 GMT: The Volgograd blast will not seriously affect train transit, Russian Railways reported. It said it may use auxiliary lines to compensate for any disturbances.

10:31 GMT: The explosion at the train station must have been quite powerful, because it was clearly heard form a considerable distance, Aleksandr Kornev, a Volgograd resident living in the station area, told RT.

The assessment is consistent with the visible damage to the building, where the blast wave broke many windows on both floors and damaged a heavy wooden door.

10:23 GMT: A nine-year-old child is among the people injured by the blast, local government reported. It cited an updated casualties report, saying the bombing killed at least 15 people and injured some 27 others.

10:19 GMT: A police officer, who was manning the checkpoint at the Volgograd railway station, was killed by the blast, his co-worker told Itar-Tass. He was checking passengers’ luggage when the bomb detonated right next to him.

10:15 GMT: The Investigative Committee says the blast killed at least 13 people, which contradicts the larger number voiced earlier by the local government.

10:15 GMT: 20 people injured in the blast are being treated in hospitals in Volgograd, local police told Itar-Tass.

The Emergencies Ministry has sent two transport planes equipped with medical equipment to transport some of the victims to Moscow trauma clinics.

10:13 GMT:

10:11 GMT: This video allegedly shows the moment of the blast at Volgograd railway station:

10:01 GMT: The blast in Volgograd was caused by an unidentified explosive device, reported the spokesman for the Investigative Committee, Vladimir Markin. The committee is treating the suspected suicide bombing as a terrorist attack, he added.

09:58 GMT: At least 18 people have been killed and more than 40 injured in the suspected suicide bombing in Volgograd, the regional government reported.

09:45 GMT: A powerful explosion at a Volgograd railway station at 12:40 local time caused multiple casualties, reported the National Antiterrorist Committee. A female suicide bomber is suspected to be behind it.

All the people injured in the blast have been taken to hospitals, the statement added.

Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), Interior Ministry and Emergencies Ministry have deployed their respective teams to the crime scene. An FSB bomb squad is working in situ.