Second suicide bombing in Volgograd kills 14
By Maria Tsvetkova,Reuters
December 31, 2013, 12:07 am TWN
VOLGOGRAD, Russia -- A bomb ripped apart a bus in Volgograd on Monday, killing 14 people in the second deadly attack blamed on suicide bombers in the southern Russian city in 24 hours and raising fears of Islamist attacks on the Winter Olympics.
President Vladimir Putin, who has staked his prestige on February's Sochi Games and dismissed threats from Chechen and other Islamist militants in the nearby North Caucasus, ordered tighter security nationwide after the morning rush-hour blast.
Investigators said they believed a male suicide bomber set off the blast, a day after a similar attack killed at least 17 in the main rail station of a city that serves as a gateway to the southern wedge of Russian territory bounded by the Black and Caspian Seas and the Caucasus mountains.
A Reuters journalist saw the blue and white trolleybus — a bus powered by overhead electric cables — reduced to a twisted, gutted carcass, its roof blown off and bodies and debris strewn across the street. Windows in nearby apartments were blown out by the explosion, which investigators called a “terrorist act.”
“For the second day, we are dying. It's a nightmare,” a woman near the scene said, her voice trembling as she choked back tears. “What are we supposed to do, just walk now?”
The bomb used was packed with “identical” shrapnel to that in the rail station, indicating they may have been made in the same place and supporting suspicions the bombings were linked, said Vladimir Markin, a spokesman for the investigators.
Health Ministry spokesman Oleg Salagai said 14 people were killed and 28 wounded in the bombing on Monday.
“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,”
There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
On Sunday, investigators initially described the station bomber as a woman from Dagestan, a hub of Islamist militancy on the Caspian, but they later said the attacker may have been a man. In October, a woman from the North Caucasus blew herself up and killed seven people on a bus in Volgograd.
The city has held a place in Russians' sense of national identity since, when known as Stalingrad, its Soviet defenders held off German invaders to turn the course of World War Two.
Chechens and other North Caucasus militants have also staged attacks in Moscow and other cities in the past.