Suicide bomber behind Russia subway blast

- A suicide bomber was behind a blast on the St. Petersburg subway that killed 14 people, Russian investigators said Tuesday, while authorities in the Central Asian nation of Kyrgyzstan identified a suspect as a Kyrgyz-born Russian citizen.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the Monday afternoon attack, which came while President Vladimir Putin was visiting the city, Russia's second biggest and Putin's hometown.

Russia's health minister on Tuesday raised the death toll from 11 to 14 and said 49 people are still hospitalized.

Residents have been bringing flowers to the stations near where the blast occurred. Every corner and window-sill at the ornate, Soviet-built Sennaya Square station on Tuesday was covered with red and white carnations.

Russia's top investigative body said in a statement that investigators have identified a man whose body parts were found on the train and who is suspected to be a suicide bomber. Kyrgyzstan's State Committee for National Security identified one suspect as Kyrgyz-born Russian national Akbarzhon Dzhalilov, aged between 21 and 22. It was not immediately clear if the two statements related to the same person.

The Interfax news agency on Monday said authorities believe the suspect was linked to radical Islamic groups and carried the explosive device onto the train in a backpack.

The driver of the subway train hit by a bomb appeared in front of reporters on Tuesday looking tired but not visibly shaken by the events of the previous day.

Alexander Kavernin, 50,  who has worked on the subway for 14 years said he heard the sound of a blast while his train was running, called security and carried on to the station as the emergency instructions prescribe.
"I had no time to think about fear at that moment," he said.

The decision to keep moving was praised by authorities as aiding evacuation efforts and reducing the danger to passengers who would have had to walk along the electrified tracks.

Oleg Alexeyev, 53, who trains sniffer dogs for the police, went to the Technological Institute station Tuesday morning to lay flowers in the memory of those who died nearby.

"I traveled on the same route this morning just to see how it felt and think about life. You begin to feel the thin line about life and death," he said.

Footage of the aftermath of the explosion at the Sennaya Ploshchad train station shows a blown out subway car and several injured lying on the ground.

President Vladimir Putin, who was visiting the city on an unrelated trip Monday, offered his condolences to the families of those killed.

Authorities evacuated and shut down the entire St. Petersburg subway system, which serves some 2 million riders a day.

Maxim Liksutov, Moscow's deputy mayor, told Interfax that Moscow authorities were tightening security on the subway in the Russian capital.

U.S. President Donald Trump called the attack an "absolutely a terrible thing."

With the Associated Press

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