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14 killed in Russian bombing

[ 2013-12-30 10:16] 来源:中国日报网     字号 [] [] []  
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At least 14 people were killed and dozens injured on Sunday when a female suicide bomber blew herself up in a train station in the southern Russian city of Volgograd ahead of Olympic Games in nearby Sochi.

Regional officials said the woman set off her charge after being stopped at the metal detectors at the entrance to the city's main train station while it was packed with afternoon travelers.

"It was a very powerful blast," train station store attendant Valentina Petrichenko told the Vesti24 news channel.

"Some people started running and others were thrown back by the shock wave," she said. "It was very scary."

Alexander Koblyakov, another witness, said, "People were lying on the ground, screaming and asking for help."

State television footage showed windows blown out across the top two floors of the gray brick building and numerous ambulances gathered at the station's front entrance amid piles of debris and snow.

Russia's Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin said officials had launched an inquiry into a suspected "act of terror".

At least 14 people were killed and dozens injured in the attack, investigators said.

The city of Volgograd - known as Stalingrad in the Soviet era - was also attacked in October by a female suicide bomber with links to Islamists fighting federal forces in the nearby volatile North Caucasus.

The Oct 21 strike killed six people aboard a crowded bus and immediately raised security fears ahead of the Feb 7-23 Winter Games in Sochi.

The Black Sea city lies 690 kilometers southwest of Volgograd and in direct proximity to the violence ravaging North Caucasus regions such as Dagestan and Chechnya on a daily basis.

Militants are seeking to impose an Islamist state throughout Russia's North Caucasus. Their leader Doku Umarov has ordered his foot soldiers to target civilians outside the region and disrupt the Olympic Games.

The Sochi Games' success carries heavy overtones for the Kremlin amid its efforts to use patriotism to mobilize support for President Vladimir Putin.

Putin staked his personal reputation on the Games' success by lobbying for Sochi's candidacy before the International Olympic Committee and then spending more than $50 billion for the event.

The Kremlin said Putin was "immediately" informed of the attack.

"He received detailed reports with all the preliminary information," Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

"The president is also receiving reports as the events develop and new information comes in -first of all, this concerns the number of people injured and killed," the spokesman said.

Peskov said Putin also issued orders to the emergency and health ministries to send the most gravely injured victims for necessary treatment to Moscow.

Russia's Interior Ministry said separately that it was immediately stepping up security at all the nation's main train stations and airports.

"These measures involve a greater police presence and more detailed passenger checks," an interior ministry spokesman said.

Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev said in October that the number of terrorist attacks in the country had halved since 2011, though he gave no actual figures on the issue, RIA Novosti news agency reported.

"We're observing a downward trend in crimes of terrorist nature in the last three years. The number of terror attacks has decreased by half," he said.

Female suicide bombers are often referred to in Russia as "black widows" - women who seek to avenge the deaths of their family members in North Caucasus fighting by targeting Russian civilians.

Female suicide bombers set off blasts at two Moscow subway stations in March 2010 that killed more than 35 people.

So-called black widows were also responsible for killing more than 90 people when they took down two passenger jets that took off from a Moscow airport within minutes of each other in 2004.

(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

14 killed in Russian bombing

About the broadcaster:

14 killed in Russian bombing

Lance Crayon is a videographer and editor with China Daily. Since living in Beijing he has worked for China Radio International (CRI) and Global Times. Before moving to China he worked in the film industry in Los Angeles as a talent agent and producer. He has a B.A. in English from the University of Texas at Arlington.