Gunman Attacks Regional Russian Security Service Office as Metro Bombing Death Toll Rises

Russia’s Federal Security Service said on Friday that a gunman killed two people in an attack on one of its regional offices in the far east of the country.

The gunman burst into the office in the Khabarovsk region, which is close to China and opened fire, killing one of its employees and a visitor, FSB said.

Another visitor was injured in the attack, the successor organization to the Soviet KGB said, adding the attacker had been killed.

The gunman identified as A.V. Konev was a local resident, born in 1999, who belonged to an unnamed nationalist group, the TASS news agency reported, citing an FSB official.

Russia was this month shaken by the deadly suicide bombing of the St. Petersburg metro, which killed 16 people.

A woman wounded in the bombing died in hospital Thursday, a local official said, taking the death toll from the attack to 15.

Another 23 people are still in hospital, four of them in serious condition, she said.

Authorities say the attack was carried out by 22-year-old suicide bomber Akbarjon Djalilov, a Russian national born in Kyrgyzstan.

Ten men from Central Asia have been detained in connection with the bombing, including Kyrgyz-born Abror Azimov, whom officials say was one of the organizers.

Both he and his elder brother Akram — whom the FSB says was allegedly in contact with global terror groups — are in custody.

There has been no claim of responsibility but investigators are looking into possible links to ISIS jihadists, who have threatened to strike Russia in revenge for its intervention in Syria.

Glimpses of the St. Petersburg Bombing Victims

Petersburg

St. Petersburg – He was a 22-year-old from the Central Asian republic of Kyrgyzstan. She was a 21-year-old from Azerbaijan. They were part of the modern-day fabric of Russia’s melancholy old imperial city. He was the bomber, police say. She was one of his 14 victims, most of them in their 20s or younger.

Russian investigators on Tuesday identified the man they suspect blew up a subway car here as Akbarzhon Dzhalilov, an ethnic Uzbek and naturalized Russian citizen who had remained in St. Petersburg, working in a sushi place, after his parents returned to Kyrgyzstan. DNA evidence and security camera footage point to his being the perpetrator of Monday’s attack, they said.

At the Mariinsky hospital morgue Tuesday, nearly 100 relatives, classmates, and well-wishers came to bid farewell to Dilbara Aliyeva, 21, whose body was to be sent back to her native Azerbaijan. Some carried Aliyeva’s portrait, of a young dark-haired woman with deep brown eyes and sharp eyebrows.

A teacher, Irina Berezovskaya, held back tears as she described Aliyeva as a quiet psychology student who was close to her family and loved to cook traditional Azeribaijani dishes.

“She was always bright. She was fascinated by what motivated people and was so good at figuring them out. She was writing her dissertation on motivation and sport; her brother is a professional soccer player,” said Berezovskaya, who wore a black scarf over her hair. “It was her brother who finally told my students, ‘We lost Dilbara.’ I looked on the list of those who died and saw someone born in 1996. I had seen her just hours earlier.”

The bombing, at 2:40 in the afternoon, left 60 people injured. Among the 10 dead who have been identified, seven were born since 1990. The youngest was born in 2000.

Officials said Dzhalilov was a member of the Uzbek minority from the city of Osh, which has been the scene of bloody ethnic conflicts and the growth of Islamist militant movements since the Soviet Union began disintegrating three decades ago.

According to both Kyrgyz and Russian media reports, Dzhalilov left Kyrgyzstan for St. Petersburg with his family in 2011, a year after fighting broke out between ethnic Uzbeks and ethnic Kyrgyz in the city where Dzhalilov’s father, who held Russian citizenship, worked at an auto body shop. Dzhalilov worked as a sushi chef in St. Petersburg and occasionally took martial arts courses at a local gym, according to local media.

He had left a second bomb, at another subway station, that failed to detonate, investigators said.

In previous reports, the Investigative Committee had called the attack a suicide bombing. On Tuesday, it did not say whether Dzhalilov had died in the blast.

A page on a Russian social network VKontakte purportedly linked to Dzhalilov showed a young man smoking shisha pipes and lusting after fast cars. One Russian news agency, Rosbalt, said it had called the owner of the page through a telephone number listed online, who denied he was the suicide bomber. The Washington Post called the number listed on the page, which was blocked.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, although Russia has been targeted in the past both in connection with an insurgency in the country’s Caucasus region and over Russia’s intervention to support Syrian regime leader Bashar al-Assad.

The attack took place while Russian President Vladimir Putin was in St. Petersburg for talks with the leader of Belarus.

“Undoubtedly, the fact that the terrorist attack was committed while the head of state was in the city forces one to reflect,” Dmitry Peskov, his spokesman, told reporters.

Putin, who has staked his legitimacy on establishing law and order in Russia, has spoken little since the attack, offering only brief comments on Monday, when he promised a full investigation and support for the victims.

At Sennaya Ploshchad, a downtown St. Petersburg landmark, commuters tramped by mounds of flowers, mainly roses and carnations, and burnt out tea lights. Metro service resumed on Tuesday, but the city was still jumpy, and several new bomb threats forced evacuations.

Among the victims was Irina Medyantseva, 50, who sewed handmade dolls, gave them names like Petersburg Angel or Yellow Bunny and sold them online for several hundred dollars each.

The Washington Post

Russia Arrests Suspected Accomplices of St. Petersburg Bomber

Russia

Several people were arrested on Thursday on suspicion of being accomplices of the man behind Monday’s St. Petersburg metro bombing, news agency Interfax reported on Thursday, citing a law enforcement source.

It said the detainees’ links with the suicide bomber were being verified.

Russian investigators said they had searched a flat of acquaintances of the suspected metro bomber, as they probe the attack that left 13 people dead.

“Objects relevant to the investigation were found during the search of the apartment where these people lived,” the Investigative Committee said. “They were all confiscated and sent for analysis.”

Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) said, according to Russian news agencies, that the object found early Thursday in an apartment building on St. Petersburg’s eastern outskirts could contain explosives. Residents have been evacuated and explosives experts have started working on the site.

Police in the city are on high alert following Monday’s explosion that killed the attacker and 13 other people and wounded some 55.

Police on Wednesday arrested eight Central Asian migrants suspected of acting as recruiters for the ISIS group and al-Qaeda’s Syria branch. The investigators found no immediate evidence of their involvement in the subway attack.

Also on Thursday, a man was hurt in an explosion in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don, a law enforcement source told TASS news agency.

At around 6:30am (0330 GMT), the man discovered a bag containing a torch and when he tried to switch it on, it exploded and tore off his hand, the TASS official news agency quoted a local policeman as saying.

REN-TV cited witnesses as saying that the explosion happened near a school on Sadovaya Street.

Russian Terrorist Behind Saint Petersburg Blast

Moscow- Russia’s Investigative Committee (IC) said on Tuesday it identified the suspect who carried out the terrorist attack in the Russian city of Saint Petersburg that killed 14 people and injured 49.

The man’s name is Akbarjon Djalilov, born in 1995 in Kyrgyzstan but holding Russian citizenship, IC spokesman Svetlana Petrenko said.

“The device that detonated on the train was set off by a man whose remains were found in the third car,” Petrenko said on Tuesday.

Investigators believe that Djalilov had placed the bomb inside a suitcase that he carried on his back.

“Forensic experts found his DNA on a bag with a bomb left at the Ploshchad Vosstaniya metro station,” Petrenko said.

She added that conclusions of DNA tests and CCTV footage give the investigators enough reason to presume that the man who committed the terrorist attack in the metro car, was also the one who had left the bag with the bomb at the Ploshchad Vosstaniya station.”

The blast on Monday ripped through a train carriage at a St Petersburg Metro tunnel between the Sennaya Ploshchad and Tekhnologichesky Institut metro stations at around 3 p.m. local time and coincided with the visit of President Vladimir Putin to the city.

Hours after the first blast, security officials said they found another explosive device at the Ploshchad Vosstania station, hidden under a fire extinguisher, but had been made safe.

The IC has described the explosion as a “terrorist act,” but said investigators were also considering several scenarios.

Kyrgyzstan’s intelligence agency confirmed Kyrgyz-born Russian citizen Djalilov has been identified as the suspect behind the attack, Interfax news agency said.

The man is a native of Kyrgyzstan, in Central Asia, but had received Russian citizenship.

The IC has also questioned the train driver Alexander Kaverin, who decided to continue to the next station after hearing the blast. The decision of Kaverin, described as a “hero,” aided evacuation efforts and helped save many lives.