Female terrorist opened bag triggering Moscow airport blast (Roundup)

January 25th, 2011 - 6:30 pm ICT by IANS  

Moscow/Beijing, Jan 25 (IANS) A female terrorist “opened a bag” at Moscow’s Domodedovo International Airport, triggering a massive explosion that killed 35 people, a source said, adding: “She was accompanied by a man whose head was ripped off by the explosion”.RIA Novosti reported, quoting a law enforcement source, that two terrorists were involved in the suicide bomb attack that also injured up to 180 people, .

Both terrorists died in the explosion that ripped through the international arrivals zone at 4.40 p.m., as friends and taxi drivers were meeting arriving passengers.

The blast was equivalent to 5 kg of TNT and the bomb was packed with metal objects to cause maximum damage.

“The blast occurred when a suspected female terrorist opened a bag. She was accompanied by a man whose head was ripped off by the explosion,” the source told RIA Novosti.

“It cannot be ruled out that the terrorists wanted to leave the explosive device in the hall but the bomb was detonated inadvertently or by a remote control device,” he said.

“The terror attack was done according to a scheme that is used by terrorists from the North Caucasus region,” he said.

“The (2004) blasts at the Rizhskaya subway station and other explosions in the Moscow metro (2010) were carried out similarly, when the terrorists were accompanied by militants.”

Reports suggest the terrorists were driven to the airport, Moscow’s busiest, by an accomplice.

The bombing was the worst terror attack since two female suicide bombers from the volatile North Caucasus republic of Dagestan blew themselves up at two of the capital’s subway stations last March, killing 40.

Police have hinted the latest outrage may be linked to the Islamist radicals in the North Caucasus.

Three suspects are being sought over the bombing.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev Tuesday demanded interior ministry and Federal Security Service (FSB) officials responsible for security at Domodedovo International Airport be punished.

Medvevdev said he instructed the FSB to determine who was responsible for security at the airport within the service itself and ordered the interior ministry to introduce proposals on how to prosecute those who failed to ensure proper security.

“Taking into consideration the location and other indirect indications, this was a well-planned terrorist act aimed at killing as many people as possible,” Medvedev told journalists, adding: “Medical personnel are trying to help those in need, there is a large number of injured.”

“This is a terrorist act, this is grief, this is a tragedy,” Medvedev said. “I hope law enforcement bodies are able to quickly determine the main explanation (for the terrorist act) and conduct an investigation,” the president added.

A spokesman for Russia’s national anti-terrorism committee (NAC) said earlier Tuesday that insufficient security measures in Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport were to blame for Monday’s deadly blast.

“Security measures in the Domodedovo airport were insufficient, otherwise the terrorist attack would have never taken place,” Nikolai Sintsov told the Rossiya 24 TV channel.

A law enforcement source said the security services were aware that terrorists were planning an attack on a Moscow airport, but were unable to locate and detain the three suspects they had been searching for.

Soon after the blast in Moscow, police in China tightened security at Beijing International Airport.

Xinhua reported that more police dogs have been deployed at key areas at the airport, including luggage claim points, check-in counters and departure and arrival halls.

Police are keeping a close eye on surveillance cameras and monitoring the flow of passengers round-the-clock, said an airport police official.

Hu Jinhui, a senior official with the Beijing International Airport Police Bureau, said that more plain clothes police are on patrol.

“We ordered tighter security overnight to make sure the capital’s airport is safe during the Chinese New Year travel period,” Hu said.

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