Russia train blast suspect born in Kyrgyzstan

Bombing suspect Akbarzhon Jalilov was born in Osh in 1995. A memorial for victims at Technology Institute metro station in St Petersburg. Monday's explosion took place in the carriage of a train that had been travelling between that station and Senna
A memorial for victims at Technology Institute metro station in St Petersburg. Monday's explosion took place in the carriage of a train that had been travelling between that station and Sennaya Square.PHOTO: REUTERS
Bombing suspect Akbarzhon Jalilov was born in Osh in 1995. A memorial for victims at Technology Institute metro station in St Petersburg. Monday's explosion took place in the carriage of a train that had been travelling between that station and Senna
Bombing suspect Akbarzhon Jalilov was born in Osh in 1995.
Flowers were laid in memory of the victims of the St Petersburg metro blast at a memorial stone reading "Leningrad" near the Kremlin wall in Moscow yesterday. Media reports said at least 14 people were killed and dozens hurt in the blast on Monday. R
Flowers were laid in memory of the victims of the St Petersburg metro blast at a memorial stone reading "Leningrad" near the Kremlin wall in Moscow yesterday. Media reports said at least 14 people were killed and dozens hurt in the blast on Monday. Russia said it suspected a suicide bomber was responsible after finding his body parts in a train carriage. The attacker was identified as Akbarzhon Jalilov, a citizen who was born in Kyrgyzstan. PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

Metro bombing that killed 14 thought to be suicide attack by Russian citizen with ties to radical Islamists: Report

ST PETERSBURG • A blast in a St Petersburg train carriage that killed at least 14 people and wounded over 50 was probably carried out by a Russian citizen born in Kyrgyzstan, the authorities from the predominantly Muslim Central Asian state said.

The explosion on Monday was a suspected suicide bombing by a perpetrator with ties to radical Islamists, Interfax cited a law enforcement source as saying.

Both the Russian and Kyrgyz security services identified the suspect as Akbarzhon Jalilov, 22, born in the city of Osh in 1995, but provided no other details.

Forensic experts also found his DNA on a bag containing a more powerful bomb that was discovered and defused at the Vosstaniya Square metro station.

St Petersburg TV footage showed the body of a bearded man said to be the perpetrator. He resembled the person seen in footage captured by closed-circuit television who Russian media said was a suspect.

Singapore President Tony Tan Keng Yam and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong have written to their Russian counterparts to convey their condolences over the attack.

In a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin, Dr Tan expressed sadness over the terror attack.

"On behalf of the people of Singapore, I convey my heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims and wish those injured a speedy recovery," wrote Dr Tan.

In a letter to Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Mr Lee wrote: "I was shocked to hear of the attack at the Saint Petersburg metro on April 3, 2017. Singapore strongly condemns this senseless act of terror and stands in solidarity with Russia."

Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported yesterday that the authorities had received a warning of a possible second attack at the same Sennaya Square metro station - a major subway interchange in downtown St Petersburg. Interfax news agency said several fire engines were outside the station, which had been closed.

The attack took place while Mr Putin was in St Petersburg for talks with the leader of Belarussia. "Undoubtedly, the fact that the terrorist attack was committed while the head of state was in the city forces one to reflect," said Mr Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

If it is confirmed that the metro bomber was linked to radical Islamists, some sections of Russian society could see it as proof that Moscow's decision to intervene in Syria has made civilians targets.

In St Petersburg, friends and loved ones of the victims gathered at city morgues yesterday, the first of three days of mourning.

At Sennaya Square, commuters walked by a mound of red roses and extinguished tea lights.

Mr Putin, whose hometown is St Petersburg, offered his condolences and later placed a bouquet of red flowers at the entrance to another station, Technology Institute. The train had been travelling between Sennaya Square and that station.

Police and guards stepped up security with the use of metal detectors at the entrances to the subway, hotels and shopping malls.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel condemned the explosion as a "barbaric act", while United States President Donald Trump spoke to Mr Putin and offered the "full support of the US government", according to a White House statement.

Some government opponents expressed concern on Monday that the Kremlin might use the attack as an excuse to curtail a nascent opposition movement that brought tens of thousands of people into the streets eight days earlier to protest against official corruption.

REUTERS, BLOOMBERG, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, NYTIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 05, 2017, with the headline 'Russia train blast suspect born in Kyrgyzstan'. Print Edition | Subscribe