A pair of separate suicide bombings in Russia just weeks ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics has authorities investigating what could be the first of many such attacks. Russians officials have not determined a motive nor has a party made claim for the bombing, but a terrorist mastermind could be the main culprit.
According to reports from Reuters and the New York Times, an unknown individual detonated a shrapnel-filled bomb inside a train station in the town of Volgograd on Sunday (December 29). The person was in front of a metal detector when the device went off, killing at least 17 in total. The next day in Volgograd, a bus was demolished with a similar device and at least 14 were reported dead.
President Vladimir Putin has previously brushed aside threats from rebel Chechen leader Doku Umarov, who has claimed responsibility for bombings in the past. Volgograd is north of the war-ravaged region of North Caucasus, where Chechen and other Islamist militant rebels have staged attacks since Putin assumed office in 2000.
“For the second day, we are dying. It’s a nightmare,” a woman near the scene told Reuters, her voice trembling as she choked back tears. “What are we supposed to do, just walk now?”
“Identical” shrapnel to that in the rail station indicated that the two bombs were linked, investigators said.
“There was smoke and people were lying in the street,” said Olga, who works nearby. “The driver was thrown a long way. She was alive and moaning … Her hands and clothes were bloody.”
An unconfirmed source said that the December 29 bombing suspect was ethnic Russian who recently converted to Islam.
Sochi has been a global news items since its announcement as the site of the Winter Olympics. Umarov noted in a video over the summer that the event is akin to “satanic dances on the bones of our ancestors.”
Thus far, Umarov has not spoken on the recent attacks.
Hit the next page to see a video report and pictures of the bombing sites along with other images. A warning: some of these photos may be disturbing.