Carnage at Russian airport after explosion

Moscow’s Domodedovo airport has been rocked by a bomb
explosion that an airport spokesman says has killed 35 people.

More than 100 people were injured – 20 of them critically
– by the blast, which reports suggest was the work of a suicide bomber.

Russia’s chief investigator said terrorists were behind
the attack.

The airport – the busiest serving Russia’s capital – is
40km (25 miles) south-east of the city centre.

President Dmitry Medvedev vowed those behind the attack
would be tracked down.

He ordered increased security across Russia’s capital,
its airports and other transport hubs, and called an emergency meeting with top
officials. He also postponed his planned departure for this week’s World
Economic Forum at Davos.

BBC security correspondent Gordon Corera said immediate
suspicion about Monday’s attack would fall on militants from the Caucasus

Militant groups fighting in the Caucasus know how
important the perception that the president and prime minister provide a secure
society is, and to undermine that is a key aspect of their aims, adds our

Last March the Russian capital’s underground system was
rocked by two female suicide bombers from Russia’s volatile Dagestan region,
who detonated their explosives on the busy metro system during rush hour,
killing 40 people and injuring more than 80.

‘Almighty explosion’

Reports suggest Monday’s blast at Domodedovo hit the
international arrivals hall, creating a cloud of smoke. The device is thought
to have contained the equivalent of 7kg (15lb) of TNT.

Briton Mark Green, who was on a British Airways flight
that landed at the airport before the explosion, told BBC News there were
thousands of people in the baggage collection area, baggage hall and queue for
immigration at the time of the blast.

“We were walking out through the exit of the
arrivals hall towards the car, and there was this almighty explosion, a huge bang…
my colleague and I looked at each other and said ‘Christ that sounds like a car
bomb or something,’ because the noise was, literally, it shook you,” Mr
Green told BBC News.

He described scenes of panic and how he gave a drink of
water to a bloodied Russian man whose face was blackened with soot.

In the aftermath of the explosion, Mr Medvedev told
Russian state television a commission of inquiry would be established “to
conduct urgent on-the-spot investigations”.

He said: “After previous similar events, we passed
appropriate legislation, and we have to check how it has been applied. Because
obviously there have been lapses, and we have to get to the bottom of

Police are hunting for three suspects in connection with
the bombing, Russian media report.

All flights from Domodedovo have been suspended since the
blast, while incoming flights are being diverted to Moscow’s Sheremetevo

Nato has sent a message of solidarity to Russia’s
government. UK Foreign Secretary William Hague sent the condolences of the
British government to all those who had lost relatives and been injured.

“British officials are in urgent contact with the
Russian authorities to establish the facts and to provide consular support to
any British nationals who may have been affected,” said Mr Hague.


attacks in Russia

• Oct 2010 – Six people killed as militants storm
parliament in Chechnya, North Caucasus

• Mar 2010 – Suicide bombings at two Moscow metro
stations kill 40 people; attack blamed on North Caucasus militants

• Nov 2009 – Bomb blast hits Moscow-St Petersburg luxury
express train, killing 26; North Caucasus Islamist group claims responsibility

• Sept 2004 – Chechen rebels seize school in Beslan; 334
hostages, including many children, killed in ensuing battle

• Aug 2004 – Suicide bomber blows herself up at a Moscow
metro station, killing 10

• Aug 2004 – Two Tupolev airliners that took off from
Domodedovo blown up in mid-air by suicide bombers, killing 89 passengers and


World Story

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev seen during a meeting to discuss an explosion at Domodedovo airport in the Gorki residence outside Moscow on Monday. Medvedev ordered authorities to beef up security at Moscow’s two other commercial airports and other key transport facilities, including the subway system, the target of past terror attacks. He said the explosion demonstrated that security regulations had been breached.
Photo: AP