Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Russian president attacks lack airport security for deadly blast by female suicide bomber

CLEAR breaches in security allowed a suspected female suicide bomber linked to Russia's Northern Caucasus to kill 35 people at Moscow's main airport, President Dmitry Medvedev said.
In comments broadcast on national television Mr Medvedev demanded answers from Domodedovo airport over how it let the bomber wander into the arrivals section and set off a charge just as passengers from several international flights were arriving.

"The explosion occurred the moment the presumed female suicide bomber opened her bag," the state-run news agency quoted the unnamed security official as saying.

"The terrorist was accompanied by a man. He was standing beside her and (the blast) tore off his head."

Russian investigators said they had found a head of "Arab appearance" that was initially presumed to have belonged to the suicide bomber.

The unnamed security source said the blast bore the hallmarks of an attack carried out by North Caucasus militants.

"This act of terror followed the classic scheme used by terrorists who come from the North Caucasus," said the security official.

Earlier reports said one suicide bomber shouted, "I'll kill you all," before the massive blast ripped through the packed arrivals hall at Moscows busiest airport, killing dozens and wounding 168 more.

Shocking CCTV footage of the deadly explosion at Domodedovo Airport at 4.32pm local time has been handed over to investigators, according to a source quoted by the Interfax news agency, with Mr Medvedev saying airport management should be held accountable.

"Terrorism remains the main security threat to our state," the president said after observing a moment of silence during which he could be seen choking back tears.

"We have to do everything to make sure that the bandits who committed this crime are identified, exposed and brought to court, and the nests of these bandits - or whatever they may be called - must be liquidated.

"What happened demonstrates that there were clear security breaches. Someone had to try very hard to carry or bring through such a vast amount of explosives.

"Everyone linked to the company that makes decisions there, and the management of the airport itself, has to answer for everything. This is an act of terror. This is grief. This is a tragedy."

But an airport spokeswoman insisted all the security procedures had been followed correctly and Domodedovo was not to blame.

"We do not feel that we should be held accountable," Yelena Galanova said.

Aussie survivor tells of 'large bang'

An Australian man identified as Ben said he was just about to enter the arrivals hall when the explosion occurred.

"We heard the explosion first and heard a very, very large bang," he told ABC Radio.

"We thought it might be a construction accident but couldn't figure out what that might be, and we saw clouds of dust coming out from that area.

"The blast was loud enough and strong enough that it shook the walls around us."

Foreigners among dead

Russia's Emergencies Ministry says eight foreign citizens, including two Britons, are among the 35 people killed in a suicide bombing at Moscow's busiest airport.

One of the two Britons has been named as Cousland Gordon Campbell

A preliminary casualty list published by the ministry shows a German and a Bulgarian among the dead, along with one person each from the former Soviet republics of Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Ukraine.

Australians in Russia

The Australian Embassy in Moscow has advised any Australians who have concerns for the welfare of family and friends at Domodedovo Airport at the time of the blast, to first attempt to contact them directly.

"If you are unable to contact them and still hold concerns for their welfare, you should call the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trades 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on 1300 555 135."

Travel to Russia

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) warned travellers of further terrorist attacks on its Smartraveller website, following the explosion.

“We advise you to exercise a high degree of caution in Russia because of the threat of terrorist activity, particularly by Chechen separatists, and the level of criminal activity,” the website says. “Russian authorities continue to warn of the possibility of further terrorist attacks in Moscow.

“On 3 October 2010, the US Government issued a Travel Alert alerting US citizens of the potential for terrorist attacks in Europe, including the potential for terrorists to attack public transportation systems and other tourist infrastructure in European countries."

The website strongly advises Australians not to travel to the North Caucasus, in particular the regions of Chechnya, Dagestan, Ingushetia, North Ossetia, the south-east part of Stavropol bordering Chechnya, Karbardino-Balkaria (including the Elbrus area), Abkhazia and Karachay-Cherkessia, because of the risk of military clashes and terrorist attacks.

“You should pay close attention to your personal security at all times and monitor the media for information about possible new safety or security risks,” the website warns. “You should avoid demonstrations and large public gatherings as they may turn violent.”

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