Video from Robert Mackey in NYT
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 region.
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 correspondent.
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.
Update: Reuters also reports 10 dead, 20 injured, and that it was a suicide bomber:
At least 10 people were killed and 20 injured in a suicide bomb blast at Moscow’s Domodedovo airport Monday, Interfax news agency reported.
Update II: The AP was a little more cautious, saying that “no immediate word” on a cause had been given and not offering anything more specific than “at least 20 casualties.”
Update III: At the same link, the AP now says 23 are dead and are now including the likelihood of it being a suicide-bomber attack.
Update IV: The AP now puts the death toll to 31, with 130 injured. They also note that Domodedovo had a reputation for lax security:
Domodedovo is generally regarded as Moscow’s most up-to-date airport, but its security procedures have been called into question.
In 2004, two suicide bombers were able to board planes at Domodedovo by buying tickets illegally from airport personnel. The bombers blew themselves up in mid-air, killing all 90 people aboard the two flights.
At least according to today’s reports, it’s also the busiest airport in Moscow, which makes it an even bigger target.
The most obvious suspects here would seem to be the Chechens, who have shown an ability to carry out spectacular, and deadly, terrorist attacks throughout Russia and even in Moscow itself many times over the past decade.
The NYTimes report doesn’t even bother to mention how Russia has been plagued by Islamic jihadist attacks.
Now taking bets. The culprit is:
a. Tea Party Member
b. Someone incited by Sarah Palin’s violent rhetoric
c. A Christian
d. all of the above
e. None of the above (it wouldn’t be PC to define it)
[Update] Death toll now at 31 35. Russian President has already called the attack an act of terrorism. (In the U.S., authorities would insist it had no terrorist link until right-wing bloggers discovered direct and indisputable evidence that it was.)
Still no word – or even a hint – on motivation.
John Hinderaker at Powerline
Aaron Worthing at Patterico:
There are some reports around that this is a suicide bombing, which suggests a terrorist organization like al Qaeda is behind it. But to be blunt the last time we had a breaking news story like that, the Safeway Massacre, very little of what was believed at first turned out to be true. I mean Ms. Giffords can now use that familiar Twain joke “the rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated.” The fact that those rumors were published in major media outlets is correctly seen as an embarrassment.
So, take everything you are hearing as a “penciled in” report. All of it could be wrong. But hopefully as time goes on we will sort it out and I will try to update this post as details get clearer.