Tuesday, April 4, 2017

St. Petersburg Metro Bombed

On 3 April 2017, a terrorist attack using an explosive device took place on the Saint Petersburg Metro between Sennaya Ploshchad and Tekhnologichesky Institut stations. Seven people were initially reported to have died, and seven more died later from their injuries, bringing the total to 14.

At least 45 others were injured in the incident. The explosive device was contained in a briefcase. A second explosive device was found and defused at Ploshchad Vosstaniya metro station. The suspected perpetrator was named as Akbarzhon Jalilov, an ethnic Uzbek born in Kyrgyzstan who had been granted Russian citizenship.


Prior to the attack, Chechen separatists had been responsible for a number of terrorist attacks in Russia. In 2016, ISIS had plotted to target St. Petersburg due to Russia's involvement with Syria, resulting in a number of arrests. The subway system had not been bombed in seven years.

Isis propaganda was being circulated prior to this incident. It encouraged supporters to launch strikes on Moscow. Isis propaganda showed bullet holes through Putin's head and a poster circulated before the attack of a falling Kremlin and included the message "We Will Burn Russia."

Vladimir Putin was visiting Saint Petersburg on the day of the attack. It is his hometown.

                                                Putin laying flowers at the MetroAttack

On 3 April 2017, a device containing 200–300 grams (0.44–0.66 lb) of explosives detonated on a train traveling through a tunnel between the Sennaya Ploshchad and Tekhnologichesky Institut stations of the Saint Petersburg Metro. According to a statement from the Ministry of Emergency Situations, the bomb was detonated on the third car of the train. Eyewitnesses said the blast occurred near the door and immediately after the explosion, smoke filled the platform. Video from social media showed multiple victims on the platform and a metal door twisted due to the force of the blast. Following reports of the explosion, all metro stations in Saint Petersburg were quickly closed. In the late evening, metro services were resumed on the third, fourth, and fifth lines.

A second bomb was discovered at Ploshchad Vosstaniya station; it was subsequently disarmed. The device had ball bearings, screws, and shrapnel and was hidden within a fire extinguisher containing an equivalent of about 1 kilogram (2.2 lb) of TNT.  Jalilov’s DNA was found on a bag which containted the extinguisher, suggesting that he intentionally left this bag inside a train vehicle as witnessed by certain passengers.


Security was heightened after the attack. Metal detectors, installed countrywide following the site of another attack seven years previously, were all put into use (they were not in use for several years prior). The Moscow Metro security department said they were ready to assist the Saint Petersburg Metro in case of any help. Local media reported that authorities had found suspicious packages in three Moscow metro stations, Nagatinskaja, Savelovskaya and Ugrezhskaya (CIP). Authorities later cordoned off the area. The security of Pulkovo International Airport was also heightened in response to the blast. A possible suspect was sighted on Metro surveillance cameras, according to unconfirmed reports. The Investigative Committee of Russia said the train operator's decision to drive it to the next station helped to avoid an even higher number of casualties.

There has so far been no claim of responsibility for the attack. At 16:30 local time (13:30 UTC) on 3 April 2017, the attack was recognised as an "act of terrorism" by the Investigative Committee.

After the attack, dozens of taxi drivers and users of car sharing services such as Uber and Gett started driving people free of charge in the area of Saint Petersburg Ring Road, due to the whole metro system being closed and other means of public transportation overwhelmed by passengers; other drivers encouraged hitchhiking.

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