VOLGOGRAD, 21 October. (Itar-Tass) – The tragic explosion which claimed several lives in Volgograd was triggered by a female suicide bomber, said Valery Safonov, first deputy head of the Volgograd regional Office of Investigation of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation.
Six people died and 33 were injured in the blast. Representative of the local branch of the healthcare industry told Itar-Tass that among the injured was a two-year old child, who was hospitalized with a concussions and is now in a stable condition. Chief physician of a local hospital Igor Merkulov told Itar-Tass that the child “needs rest, especially from journalists.”
Spokesman for the Russian Investigative Committee Vladimir Markin said that six people died not counting the suicide bomber. Of the 33 injured, “28 were hospitalized, eight are in intensive care,” the official said.
Sergei Bozhenov, governor of the Volgograd region, made a statement to Rossiya 24 TV channel, saying that all hospitals tending to those injured in the blast have enough medical supplies, blood and facilities.
Video of the explosion, captured by a dashcam (Youtube/FIxterRF)
At 2:05pm Moscow time an explosion went off in a passenger bus in Krasnoarmeysk district of the city
Press service of the Volgograd region head office of the Interior Ministry initially said that there was no criminal intent: “according to preliminary data, gas equipment exploded.” It was later revealed that the bus had a diesel-powered engine.
At the same time, a law enforcement source told Itar-Tass that an explosive device went off; its type and power were being determined.
Initially, a criminal investigation with “murder” classification has been opened; after further inspection the incident was re-classified as a terrorist act.
Vladimir Markin, said Monday that criminal proceedings had been initiated on three charges: a terrorist act, a murder of two and more people and illegal trade in weapons and explosives.
The Information Center of the National Antiterrorist Committee later confirmed detonation of an explosive device on board of the bus. Investigators are working at the blast site: they are talking to witnesses and survived bus passengers, studying recordings of video surveillance cameras.
A three-day mourning period has been declared in Volgograd region
A common law wife of gunman from the Makhachkala gang Dmitry Sokolov could have been the suicide bomber, a source in Dagestani law enforcement agencies told Itar-Tass on Monday. “The information is being checked that Naida Asiyalova, Sokolov’s common law wife, could have been the suicide bomber,” he said. “They studied together in a Moscow higher education institution, where the young woman had recruited Sokolov. Leaving everything behind, he went to Dagestan and joined the militants,” the source said.
Safonov confirmed that the suspected suicide bomber was a common law wife of a militant. “Sokolov’s wife Naida Afiyalova could be the suicide bomber.
Spokesman for the Russian Investigative Committee Vladimir Markin told Itar-Tass that “according to preliminary reports, Dagestani native Naida Asiyalova, 30, triggered the detonation.“According to information from the detectives, this woman entered the bus at a bus stop and the bomb went off almost immediately after this.”
A survivor told investigators that Akhiyalova boarded the bus almost before the explosion occurred.
Spokeswoman for the Emergency Situations Ministry Irina Rossius told Itar-Tass that Russia’s Emergency Situations Ministry is ready to send an aircraft to Volgograd to evacuate those who have been injured in the bus explosion in Volgograd, Rossius stated.
“The Il-76 plane, which is equipped with a medical module, is ready to leave for Volgograd if it necessary. A decision will be taken based on medical conditions,” the spokeswoman said, adding that it’s scheduled for an 8pm landing at Volgograd.
Reaction from the authorities
President’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov said that Russian President Vladimir Putin was immediately informed of the terrorist act in Volgograd, noting that the president was “receiving detailed information from security services.”
The Government’s press service stated Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev charged the Emergency Ministry and Ministry of Health with providing necessary assistance to the injured and families of those who perished in the explosion.
The State Duma has classified the terrorist act as “horrendous” and assured that the best human resources of law enforcements and security agencies were allocated to solve the crime.
The official website of the Governor and Government of the Volgograd region states that all injured will be given material assistance paid for from the regional budget. Volgograd authorities have beefed up security on public transit. Russia’s Interior Ministry also issued a statement, urging Russian citizens to be alert and to immediately contact the police if encountered someone suspicious.