A female suicide bomber killed 16 people at a train station in southern Russia on Sunday when she set off a shrapnel-filled bomb inside the main entrance of the station in Volgograd, reports Reuters. She detonated the bomb in front of a metal detector. The attack comes just 40 days before the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.
Volgograd is just north of Russia’s North Caucasus region, an area plagued with attacks by Islamist extremists. The train station there was particularly busy during the holiday season. The footage above shows the moment when the explosives went off, shaking the large station and sending smoke through its windows.
“People were lying on the ground, screaming and calling for help,” a witness, Alexander Koblyakov, told Rossiya-24 TV. “I helped carry out a police officer whose head and face were covered in blood. He couldn’t speak.”
The federal Investigative Committee and other officials told reporters that the female bomber set off the explosives when she saw a police officer approaching her.
Life News, a Russian news site, posted a photo purportedly of the suspect’s head and identified her as a resident of Dagestan province, which is known for being a hotspot for Islamist insurgency.
Alexei Filatov, deputy head of the veterans’ association of the elite Alfa anti-terrorism unit, told Reuters that Russians can expect more attacks in the future. “The threat is greatest now because it is when terrorists can make the biggest impression,” he told Reuters. “The security measures were beefed up long ago around Sochi, so terrorists will strike instead in these nearby cities like Volgograd.”
The insurgency comes from two post-Soviet separatist wars in Chechnya. Putin launched the second war when he was Prime Minister.
Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin said 16 people were killed in the attack, two of whom died in a hospital. This number does not include the suspect.