Suspect in St Petersburg metro blast named as Kyrgyzstan-born Russian citizen, Akbarzhon Jalilov

Russian authorities have said two people could have been involved in the bombing that left 14 dead

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 04 April, 2017, 2:40pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 04 April, 2017, 11:24pm

A likely suspect in the blast that ripped through a subway car in St Petersburg Monday, killing 14 people, is a Russian citizen born in a restive region of Kyrgyzstan, the Central Asian country’s security service said Tuesday.

The state security service of Kyrgyzstan identified the suspect as Akbarzhon Jalilov, who was born in the city of Osh in 1995, the Interfax news agency reported. The service said it was working with Russian law enforcement, who are investigating the incident as an act of terrorism.

News agencies reported Jalilov, had lived in Russia for six years. There are hundreds of thousands of Central Asians living in Russia, who often work on construction sites in poor conditions, sending the money they earn to their families back home.

Osh was the site of bloody fighting between ethnic Kyrgyz and Uzbeks in 2010. The city is located in the Ferghana Valley, an area shared by three former Soviet republics that is known as a breeding ground for extremism in Central Asia.

Watch: video shows passengers fleeing after blast

It was still unclear whether the bomb was a suicide attack or whether the attacker managed to flee, leaving the bomb on the train. Russian news agencies, citing sources in the investigation, have reported conflicting information since the time of the blast.

Why suspicion over St Petersburg subway bombing is falling on Islamist groups

An updated toll from Russian authorities said that 51 people were injured when an improvised bomb went off in the train as it travelled between two central St Petersburg stations. In the subway station located at St Petersburg’s main railway station, authorities later found another explosive device that had not detonated and disarmed it.

Footage from the scene showed shattered windows and train doors that had been ripped open by the blast. Security camera footage showed a suspect with a long beard and dark clothing.

Russian authorities credit the driver, who kept the train moving until it reached the Tekhnologichesky Institute station, with saving the lives of passengers who otherwise might have been trapped.

Security was increased at transport hubs across the country in the wake of the attack.

All underground stations in St Petersburg were closed in the immediate aftermath of the blasts, although the network was partially reopened later. About 3 million people use the city’s underground stations every day.

Russian President Vladimir Putin had been visiting St Petersburg for talks with Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko when the blast occurred.

He offered his condolences to the victims’ families, and convened a meeting with senior law enforcement officials to discuss the attack, state media reported.

Putin later went to the scene of the blast to lay flowers in memory of those killed. Condolences also arrived from leaders abroad.

US President Donald Trump phoned Putin to condemn the attack and to offer help in finding the perpetrators.

Trump “expressed his deepest condolences to the victims and their loved ones, and to the Russian people,” according to a White House statement following the conversation.

Trump also offered the “full support of the United States government in responding to the attack and bringing those responsible to justice.”

The blast raised security fears beyond Russian frontiers. France, which has itself suffered a series of attacks, announced additional security measures in Paris.

Agence France-Presse, The Guardian, Tribune News Service, The Washington Post