A suicide bomber killed at least 35 people at Russia’s busiest airport yesterday, state TV said, in an attack on the capital that bore the hallmarks of militants fighting for an Islamist state in the North Caucasus region.
President Dmitry Medvedev vowed to track down and punish those behind the bombing, which also injured more than 150 people during the busy late afternoon at Moscow’s Domodedovo airport. The dead included some foreigners.
Islamist rebels have vowed to take their bombing campaign from the North Caucasus to the Russian heartland in the year before presidential elections, hitting transport and economic targets. They have also leveled threats at the 2014 Winter Olympics, scheduled for the Black Sea resort town of Sochi, a region some militants consider “occupied.”
Dense smoke filled Domodedovo’s international arrivals hall, and a fire burned along one wall.
“Taxi drivers lined up in the arrivals hall were blown up. Pieces of their bodies covered us, and my left ear doesn’t hear very well at all,” Artyom Zhilenkov, 30, told Reuters.
Thick drops of blood were scattered across the snow-covered tarmac outside the arrivals hall, where Interfax news agency said traces of shrapnel were also found.
Two Britons were among the dead and French, Italians and Germans were in hospitals, media cited investigative committee spokesman Vladimir Markin as saying — though this could not be immediately confirmed with embassies. Planes from across Europe had landed in the half-hour leading up to the attack.
The prosecutor’s office said the bomb has been classified as a terrorist attack.