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St. Petersburg, Russia, the westernmost major city in the country, has been the scene of a terrorist attack. A nail bomb exploded on board a train as it pulled out of the station moments after a terrorist threw a backpack onto the train. The explosion tore open the carriage, and spread shrapnel throughout the car. At least ten people, at this point, has been reported dead, more than 50 injured.
According to sources there were two devices on the train that exploded. Another package is being investigated, on the same day Russian President Putin is to visit the city, which is his hometown.
Russian President Vladimir Putin commented that “The causes of this event have not been determined yet, so it’s too early to talk about [possible causes]. The investigation will show. Certainly, we will consider all possibilities: common, criminal, but first of all of a terrorist nature.”
The first blast is thought to have happened at Sennaya Ploshchad before a second explosion was reported at the Sadovaya stop at 2:40pm local time.
All Metro stations have been closed to passengers. Commuters were evacuated from the subway within about an hour of the first reports of the blast coming in.
According to Reuters:
Video showed injured people lying bleeding on a platform, some being treated by emergency services and fellow passengers. Othersran away from the platform amid clouds of smoke, some screaming or holding their hands to their faces.
A huge hole was blasted in the side of a carriage with metal wreckage strewn across the platform. Passengers were seen hammering at the windows of one closed carriage. Russian TV said many had suffered lacerations from glass shards and metal.Witnesses told Russia's Life News: 'People were bleeding, their hair burned. We were told to move to the exit, because the movement stopped. People just fled.
Eight ambulances are said to be at the scene and there are pictures emerging of bodies strewn across the platform.
While the motive of the terrorist attack, or who was behind it, is not yet clear, Islamic terrorism remains a possibility. Russia's security services have previously said they had foiled 'terrorist attacks' on Moscow's public transport system by militants, some of whom were trained by Islamic State jihadists in Syria.
And, this is not the first time Russia's public transportation systems have been targeted by attacks.
In 2013, Russia was hit by twin suicide strikes that claimed 34 lives and raised alarm over security at the Sochi Winter Olympic Games.
A bombing at the main railway station of the southern city of Volgograd killed 18 people on while a second strike hit a trolleybus and claimed 16 lives.
A suicide raid on Moscow's Domodedovo airport that was claimed by Islamic insurgents from the North Caucasus killed 37 people in January 2011.
That strike was claimed by the Caucasus Emirate movement of Islamist warlord Doku Umarov.
Russia beefed up its security over the holiday period in the wake of the attack on the Berlin Christmas market that killed 12.
Authorities placed heavy trucks at road intersections to block off areas where public festivities were taking place after the attack in the German capital that was claimed by the Islamic State group.
Russia has intervened militarily to bolster Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces in September 2015, turning the tables on the battlefield just as rebel forces were strengthening their hold on key areas.
Russian bombardments helped the regime retake rebel areas in the east of the northern city of Aleppo after four years of fighting.
While no Muslim connection has yet to be proven, ISIS supporters are celebrating the two explosions in St. Petersburg.
“We ask Allah to bless the operation by the lions of the Caliphate, we ask Allah to kill the Crusaders,” said an ISIS supporter from the terror group’s al-Minbar online forum. Others celebrated by saying that the Monday bombs made for “a metro to hell for the worshipers of the Cross” and claimed that the attacks — which are still under investigation by Russian authorities — were revenge for Russia’s backing of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who is fighting against ISIS and other rebel groups in a six-year-long civil war.
-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary