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Apr. 04, 2017
 
 

St. Petersburg attack: Suspicions focus on Islamic and Central Asian origins

Semi-official agencies speak of a young 23 year old suicide bomber. Perhaps there was also a woman. Investigations into Chechen and Islamic origins. Many Chechen fighters have returned from Syria, where they fought alongside Daesh. Expressions of solidarity from Donald Trump, European Union, UN.

Moscow (AsiaNews) - The man suspected of killing 11 people and injuring at least 45 in a suicide bomb on the St. Petersburg subway is believed to be a young man of about 20, from Central Asia. According to the semi-official agencies Tass and Interfax the man was identified from his remains.

Investigators say it was "a terrorist act", but so far there has been no claim. Meanwhile, the city has declared three days of mourning. Last night, President Vladimir Putin, who was in St. Petersburg to meet with Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko, paid tribute to the victims bringing flowers to the blast site.

Interfax said that the author of the attack is a young man of 23 from Central Asia, linked to radical Islam. Tass reported that there could also be a woman involved in the explosion. However, so far there has been no official confirmation.

Suspected Islamic origins to the attack are almost obvious. Russia’s involvement in the fight against the Islamic State in Syria, could have caused such a reaction. But Mosocow has laso been fighting for decades against Chechen separatism. Or, indeed, it could be a combination of the two, since there are many young Chechens and Central Asia fighting in Syria alongside Daesh (at least 7 thousand). Many of them have returned to their homeland.

The St. Petersburg subway - used by at least 2 million passengers every day – had never been targeted to date. In contrast, in 2010 a suicide attack in the Moscow subway killed 38 people. A year later, a bomb went off on a high-speed train between Moscow and St. Petersburg, killing 27 people and injuring another 130. Both attacks were claimed by Islamist groups. Nor must one forget the attack on a Russian plane in flight from Egypt, in October 2015, which led to the death of 224 people. The attack was claimed by the Islamic State.

Other attacks linked to Chechen hostage-taking at Nord Ost theater in 2002 and the school in Beslan in 2004, in which terrorists demanded the withdrawal of Russian troops from Chechnya.