A deadly suicide bombing occurred on Monday inside a moving metro train in St. Petersburg the same day Russia President Vladimir Putin was speaking at an event. At least 11 people are dead and 50 have been injured.
According to multiple reports, a nail bomb was detonated inside the train and another explosive device was found disguised as a fire extinguisher inside a nearby station. That bomb was defused and caused no further injuries. Police suspect terrorism and have named a 23-year-old local man, Jamal, as the suspect. Jamal, who hails from an “ex-Soviet Central Asian nation” is suspected of close links to Islamic terrorists and an image of him in a red jacket, glasses, and green beanie has been released:
There were early reports of a second jihadist, but now authorities believe only one was involved. Even though it has yet to be tied to a specific group, ISIS reportedly celebrated the bombing:
“We ask Allah to bless the operation by the lions of the Caliphate, we ask Allah to kill the Crusaders,” said an ISIS supporter from the terror group’s al-Minbar online forum. Others celebrated by saying that the Monday bombs made for “a metro to hell for the worshipers of the Cross” and claimed that the attacks — which are still under investigation by Russian authorities — were revenge for Russia’s backing of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s fight against ISIS and other rebel groups in Syria’s civil war.
Days before the suicide bombing, ISIS also released propaganda that warned, “Russia will burn.”
Russia’s Investigative Committee said the train’s engineer did the right thing by stopping at the station:
“He acted right in the circumstances. The explosion happened in the tunnel between stations, but the driver took the right decision and brought it to the next station, which allowed evacuation and help to the injured to start at once. This may have prevented casualties.”
Later in the evening, President Putin visited the scene and laid flowers at a tribute to the victims outside the station.