Tuesday, April 04, 2017

St.Petersburg's Sacrifice

A man lays flowers outside Tekhnologicheskiy Institute metro station to pay tribute to the victims of an explosion in the metro station
"From the genetic evidence and the surveillance cameras there is reason to believe that the person behind the terrorist act in the train carriage was the same one who left a bag with an explosive device at the Ploshchad Vosstaniya station."
"It has been ascertained that an explosive device could have been detonated by a man, fragments of whose body were found in the third carriage of the train."
"The man has been identified but his identity will not be disclosed for now in the interests of the investigation."
Russia's state investigative committee authorities

"I just followed the procedure. You will know that this isn't the first terrorist act that we've had, there've been explosions before, so smart people came up with smart procedures."
"And these procedures say that in this situation I had to take the train to the nearest station. This is what I did. The train kept moving. There was a bang and lots of dust, but the train kept on moving."
Train driver Alexander Kaverin

"The explosion went off between stations. There was a thundering clap, followed by a strong smell and smoke. We all moved to the opposite end of the wagon, people jammed together and two women passed out. This all was happening while the train was still moving, it didn't stop."
"Everyone got out at Technologichesky Institute station. There, we saw that the neighbouring wagon was shattered, the windows blown out, no light, blood."
Polina, St.Petersburg student

Suspect Akbarzhon Jalilov. 5th Channel Russia/via Reuters
It was a gory scene, with St.Petersburg television featuring footage of a corpse, said to be the perpetrator of the massive blast in the metro filled to bursting with workday commuters. Comments were that the dead man with his close-cropped beard bore a resemblance to closed circuit footage of a beanie-hat wearing young man, with a fur-lined hooded jacket, considered the perpetrator of the explosion, clearly a terrorist suicide bombing. Committed by a young man who moved from Kyrgyszstan to Russia in 2012.

Originally from the village of Osh in Kyrgyszstan's Fergana Valley, close to Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, populated in the majority by ethnic Uzbeks. The area has a reputation of being a hotbed of Islamist radicalism. It is acknowledged to be a source of recruits for Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, with hundreds of radicalized Uzbeks having relocated to Syria and Iraq for the purpose of Islamist jihad as devoted ISIL members.

Mr. Jalilov, whom former neighbours in Osh, describe as a nice young man who was not too immersed in fundamentalist Islam, evidently made his decision to make his suicidal martyrdom mark closer to home, in Russia, rather than abroad. But of course, if he is eventually linked to ISIL, this type of thing is precisely what ISIL-linked jihadists who have remained where they are, are incited to do; wreak havoc wherever they happen to be among the non-believers.
A still image of the suspect walking at St. Petersburg's metro station Reuters
He was wildly successful in his mission to martyrdom and notoriety. Although said to have planted two explosive devices, with one discovered and neutralized before it could produce the hell-on-Earth that the successfully exploded one did, the young recruit to martyrdom succeeded in killing 14 innocent Russian civilians and wounding another 50 people. It was rescue workers who described a scene out of 'hell' as the train rolled out of the tunnel into the following station disgorging bloodied passengers.

Body parts strewn about among the wounded in the explosives-twisted target carriage, it was clear that the damage to life and limb would have been even more horrendous had the train driver not followed instructions and kept driving from the midway point between stations where the blast had occurred, until he reached the next station, where rescuers were prepared to do what they could for those still living, desperately requiring medical aid for their injuries.

The survivors who had roused themselves in hope of giving aid to the severely injured will have their own psychical wounds to haunt them, for the remainder of their lives. One survivor sent a text message to a friend: "There was an explosion on the track, a guy left his briefcase on the train car, exited the car, and moved to another train car. Just one car." Within the bag, a small home-made bomb with explosives packed with metal nuts and bolts for maximum damage to vulnerable human bodies.

"It's not yet clear what caused this, so it's premature to speak about it. The investigation will establish that. We will look at all possibilities -- technical, criminal, or terrorist", initially cautioned Vladimir Putin. Perhaps dimly hoping investigators would conclude that a 'technical' fault had caused the carnage, even 'criminal', but if it was confirmed to represent a terrorist attack, it would also reflect chickens coming home to roost; avenging Islamic State or even Sunni opponents of Bashar al-Assad, rewarding Russia for involvement in bombing Syrian rebel-held areas.

The second, unexploded bomb in the guise of a fire extinguisher found at the Ploshchad Vosstanaya metro station serving the mainline railway station connecting St.Petersburg with Moscow, contained a kilogram of TNT equivalent; had it detonated successfully the outcome would have been even more dire than the atrocity that did succeed. Search warrants were issued by Russia's senior security agency, for two people, since it was believed that each of the devices were planted by individual suspects.

Much has yet to be revealed to determine the extent of involvement of others aside from the identified man who came from a nice, normal family in a fertile area of a neighbouring country of religious devotion.

Map showing St Petersburg bombs - 4 April 2017

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