Deadly blast at Moscow’s Domodedovo airport

Up to 35 people have been killed in an explosion at Moscow’s Domodedovo airport according to the Russian Health Ministry. Some 130 more are said to have been injured in what the Investigative Committee believes to be a terror attack.

58 have been taken to nearby hospitals, 35 of them are reported to be in critical condition. Over 100 more people are receiviing medical help in the airport. The dead remain at the airport due to the investigation.

The explosion was definitely a terrorist act commited by a suicide bomber, investigators on the scene say. Presumably a man wearing an explosive device was in the crowd of the people meeting the arriving passengers. There are reports that the bomb was packed with shrapnel.

According to reports the explosion happened at 4:30pm in the luggage claim area in the international arrivals wing of the airport. The explosion power was equivalent to 5 to 10 kilograms of TNT.


A criminal case has been opened into the suspected terror attack. Police are searching for three suspects in connection with the blast after watching airport security camera footage.


Witness Elena Bakhtina who owns a café at Domodedovo airport says one of her colleagues was taken to hospital.


"She is in intensive care,” Elena said. “The blast happened in the arrivals area – that’s the left wing of the airport. The explosion must have been very strong, because our cafe is somewhat a hundred meters from the arrivals area. And when we heard the blast, plaster started falling from the ceiling.


One of the eyewitnesses Tatyana Popova says it has been announced that the airport is working normally and all the flights are departing on time. “I'm not sure about the international arrivals thought. Airport staff don't know where they will be diverted to,” Tatyana says.


“I came here about half an hour ago. I heard that there was a blast at the arrivals area. There was already a lot of smoke at the baggage claim. There were a lot of people crowded there because the escalators had stopped. The staff organized emergency exits, but the door was very narrow and people crowded there immediately. So the staff started breaking the walls to let the people out. Soon after, the airport stopped receiving arrival flights. Everyone left the passport control area and started leaving the baggage claim area. Only those who hadn't received their luggage stayed.”


Russia’s Federal Security Bureau had known about a suicide bomber in the city, but their information was incomplete, Rosbalt news agency says. Early on Monday they reportedly searched for the possible bomber, but in Zelenograd, a town in the north of Moscow. The FSB received intelligence late on Sunday, and a large group of police and special forces were moved to Zelenograd for a special operation, but with no result.

There are reports that taxi drivers at the airport have raised the prices for taking people to Moscow, by up to $600-800. However, commuter trains connecting the airport to the city are now free for all people wanting to leave Domodedovo.


Moscow police have been put on alert over possible terror attacks in the capital. Police are also on alert at Vnukovo airport and Sheremetyevo international airport in Moscow, and in the metro system.


Dmitry Medvedev has held an urgent meeting with the Prosecutor General, the Investigative Committee Chief and the Transportation Minister. He ordered a special regime in all Moscow airports and other transport hubs and also ordered that the Health and Emergency Situations Ministries provide all necessary help to the victimsof the attack.


The president has delayed his flight for his trip to the Davos economic forum, scheduled for Tuesday, Medvedev’s press secretary Natalya Timakova says


Meanwhile, all airports in Russia are stepping up security, first of all in the Moscow region, Itar-Tass news agency reports. Still, Domodedovo Airport is working without restrictions, both for arriving and departing flights, said the Federal Agency for Air Transportation spokesman (Rosaviatsia) Sergey Izvolsky.


The list of flights that landed in Domodedovo between 4.00 and 4.30pm:


4.05 – UN208 from Odessa


4.11 – 7К9822 from Hurgada


4.20 – SN2835 fromBrussels


4. 25 – S7 924 from Burgas (Greece) and UN 7444 from London

 

Eyewitness report from youtube.com


Domodedovo is the biggest of Moscow's three airports. Traditionally, it served southern Russia and Central Asia, but since the airport was taken over by private owners it has become popular with tourists and many international airlines, including the likes of British Airways and others, who have switched to the shiny new terminal building. The airport is always packed with holiday makers as they travel out across Europe. 
 
This bomb comes just under a year since two bombs ripped through the Park Kultury metro station killing over 40 people and causing citywide panic on March 29. 
 
That bombing was the work of two female suicide bombers from the Caucasus where terrorists have been fighting for independence from the Russian Federation.  
 
Although there has been no official statements on the perpetrators of the blast, it is very likely that terrorists will be blamed. 
 
While Moscow has suffered several bomb attacks in the last years, this is the first time an airport has been successfully targeted.

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