Explosion at Moscow Airport Kills 35, Injures More Than 180
Police officers, firefighters and rescuers gather outside Moscow’s Domodedovo international airport on Jan. 24, 2011, soon after a suspected suicide bombing killed at least 31 people and wounded over 100. (Oxana Onipko/AFP/Getty Images)
Updated at 5:30 p.m. ET
An explosion in the baggage areas at Domodedovo Airport, Moscow’s busiest airport, has killed at least 35 people and wounded 180, according to Associated Press reports quoting Health Ministry officials.
Authorities say the attack was carried out by at least one suicide bomber.
Editor’s note: The video below contains graphic imagery.
Law enforcement throughout the city were placed on high alert, including on the subway system.
In a televised address, President Dmitry Medvedev said “[f]rom the preliminary information we have, it was a terror attack.” He expressed condolences to the victims’ families and ordered enhanced security in major airports, railway stations and other transportation hubs. He also delayed plans to fly to the International Economic Forum scheduled for this week in Davos, Switzerland, said Interfax.
The explosion took place at 4:37 local time. Eyewitnesses reported a grisly scene as emergency workers made their way through the smoke-filled hall. Russian police estimated that 15 pounds of explosives had been used in the attack. The explosion projected shrapnel and ball bearings into the crowd.
The blast took place in an unsecured part of the airport, where international passengers exited into an arrivals area crowded with those waiting to meet them.
NATO’s Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said that he was “shocked” by this “horrific” act. “NATO expresses its solidarity with the Russian people and government,” he said.
President Obama condemned the bombing as a “premeditated attack against innocent civilians.”
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton echoed the president’s remarks, saying “The United States condemns terrorism and all forms of violence against the innocent, wherever it occurs.”
No group has yet come forward to claim responsibility. Previous attacks have been blamed on Chechen separatist rebels.
At the same airport in 2004, two suicide bombers boarded flights and later blew themselves up, killing 90 people. In March of 2010, suicide attacks on the city’s subway claimed 39 lives.
The power of Monday’s blast, according to preliminary estimates, was equal to at least 11 pounds (5 kg) of TNT. The bomb was wrapped in metal screws, ball bearings and other shrapnel to maximize destruction, officials said.
For comparison, one of the bombs that exploded in March in one of the metro stations in Moscow was equal to about 4 pounds (1.5-2 kg) of TNT.