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Medvedev Pledges Thorough Investigation Into Deadly Airport Attack

January 24, 2011 at 4:12 PM EDT
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TRANSCRIPT

JUDY WOODRUFF: A devastating blast ripped through a crowded terminal in Moscow’s largest airport today. At least 35 people died , and more than 170 were injured, many critically.

We begin with a report narrated by John Sparks of Independent Television News.

JOHN SPARKS: There are no screams, no cries of distress, a terrifying explosion followed by smoke and the murmur of those still caught within, this the arrival hall of Moscow’s main international terminal some minutes after it was destroyed by a bomb.

In the distance, passengers and staff make their way out. They tread warily arm in arm past suitcases and handbags. Their owners were flung to the ground by the force of the blast.

The following pictures are disturbing. Russian police suspect it is the work of at least one suicide bomber. The cameraman steps around the body of one victim. To the left, a man clutches at his luggage trolley. Witnesses said hundreds of people rushed to the exits after the explosion, many suffering from shock. Others were covered in blood.

TATYANA PAPOVA, eyewitness: There was already a lot of smoke at the baggage claim area. There were a lot of people crowded there because the escalator 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.

JOHN SPARKS: Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev promised a thorough investigation.

“All steps will be taken,” he said, “and the trail is still warm.”

This is the second attack on the country’s transportation network in the last year. Two female suicide bombers killed 40 people last March in an attack on a Moscow metro station. They came from the Russian state of Dagestan, which has a Muslim majority. Russia is fighting Islamic insurgents in a number of its Republicans, including Chechnya.