St Petersburg metro bomber was '22-year old from Kyrgyzstan,' Russian investigators say

Roland Oliphant
Handout photo of suspect Suspect Akbarzhon Jalilov at a St Petersburg's metro station - REUTERS

Russian investigators have named a Kyrgyz-born Russian citizen as the perpetrator of the deadly bombing on St Petersburg’s metro system on Monday afternoon.  

Akbarzhon Jalilov, 22, was the attacker behind the blast that killed 14 people and injured at least 49 others, Russia's Investigative Committee confirmed in a statement on Tuesday.

Jalilov also planted an unexploded device that was found and defused at another metro station shortly after the blast, the Investigative Committee said in a statement, citing CCTV footage and DNA evidence found there.

The statement offered no further clarity on an earlier statement that the bombing "might" have been carried out by a suicide bomber and there was confusion about whether Jalilov or any possible accomplices are still at large.

Kyrgyzstan’s foreign ministry and security service said Jalilov, an ethnic Uzbek, was born in the city of Osh in 1995 and left the country at the age of 16.

The identification came as the death toll from Monday’s blast climbed to 14.

The victims included Irina Medyantseva, 50, an artist and doll maker, who was fatally wounded shielding her 30 year old daughter from the blast.

“They had only just got on the Metro at Sennya station. My daughter called straight away and told me what happened. It’s terrible,” her husband Alexander told Komsomolskaya Pravda.

A still image purporting to show Akbarzhon Jalilov walking at a St Petersburg metro station before the blast on Monday Credit: REUTERS/Handout

He said their daughter, who has undergone surgery, is now out of danger.

Other victims named included Ksenia Milyukova, 21, Yuri Nalimov, 71, and Maxim Arishev, 20. Dilbara Alieva, a 21 year old from Azerbaijan, died on hospital over night on Tuesday.

Russian investigators initially said that the bomb, which was carried in a backpack and packed with shrapnel, might have detonated by a suicide bomber whose badly damaged remains had been found at the scene.

However, the Investigative Committee did not confirm that remains found on the train were Jalilov’s, saying in a statement on Tuesday afternoon only that they believed he had “perpetrated” the attack.

There was also confusion about the exact identity of the killer.  

The aftermath of the explosion on the St Petersburg Metro Credit: east2west news

CCTV footage of a man who Russian television stations said was Jalilov before the blast showed a young man in a red parka coat and carrying a rucksack.

Several Russian news agencies published pictures from a social media account of a young man with the same name.  

The account could not be confirmed to belong to the same Akhbarzhon Jalil named by investigators, however. 

A bearded man who was initially identified as the bomber in similar CCTV footage broadcast on Monday evening later turned out to be innocent.

Russian rescuers carry a victim of an explosion at Tekhnologichesky Institute metro station in Saint Petersburg Credit:  ANTON VAGANOV/EPA

The man, who turned himself into the police after seeming himself on television, was later identified as Andrei Nikitin, a long distance lorry driver and former officer in the Russian airborne forces.

No group had claimed responsibility for the attack on Tuesday, but Russia has repeatedly been targeted by Islamist terrorists, mostly from the North Caucasus, for the past two decades.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) has called for attacks in Russia in revenge for its military campaign in Syria.

Kyrgyzstan, a predominantly Muslim Central Asian nation of six million, is Russia's close political ally and hosts a Russian military airbase.

Between 2000 and 4000 people from Central Asian countries are believed to have travelled to Syria and Iraq to join Isil and other groups in recent years, said Deirdre Tynan, Central Asia Project Director for the International Crisis Group.

Osh, Jalilov’s home city, was the scene of inter-ethnic clashes between Kyrgyz and Uzbek communities in 2010. 

Terror attacks in Russia

 

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