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Russia Metro Blast Suspect From Central Asia

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ST PETERSBURG – RUSSIA. The man suspected of killing 11 people in a St Petersburg train is in his early 20s and from Central Asia, Russian media report.

At least 45 people were injured in the explosion between two underground stations on Monday afternoon.

Another explosive device was found and made safe at a station nearby.

The Interfax and Tass news agencies said the suspect had been identified, but there are conflicting reports as to whether he was a suicide bomber.

Authorities in Saint Petersburg have declared three days of mourning for the victims.

President Vladimir Putin, who was in the city when the blast occurred, visited the scene on Monday evening and laid flowers at a makeshift shrine.

Russian investigators have described it as a suspected “act of terror” but they have given few details. No group has said it was responsible.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said in a Facebook post that the explosion was a “terrorist attack”.

Initial reports suggested there had been two explosions, one each at Sennaya Ploshchad and Tekhnologichesky Institut stations.

But the Russian National Anti-Terrorist Committee later confirmed there had been only one explosion, between the two stations, at about 14:30 local time (11:30 GMT).

The train driver’s decision to continue to the next station almost certainly helped save lives, as it allowed people to be rescued quickly.

Health Minister Veronika Skvortsova said 10 people had died – seven at the scene, one in an ambulance and two in hospital. The death toll was later raised to 11.

President Putin said all causes, especially terrorism, were being investigated.

World leaders rallied behind Russia in condemning the blast. US President Donald Trump described it as “a terrible thing” while German Chancellor Angela Merkel said it was a “barbaric act”. – BBC

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