At least 16 people were killed and 45 others wounded when an explosion tore through a train station in the southern Russian city of Volgograd on Sunday, in an attack blamed on a female suicide bomber, Russian media and officials said.
Regional interior ministry spokeswoman Svetlana Smolyaninova told the ITAR-TASS news agency that the blast occurred inside the train station at around 12:45 pm (0845 GMT).
The news agency said the explosion took place near the metal detectors stationed at the entrance to the city's main train station.
Russia's National Anti-Terrorism Committee said in a statement shortly after that a female suicide bomber had carried out the attack.
The explosion is the deadliest such blast to take place in Russia outside the volatile North Caucasus region in nearly three years.
Security fears for Sochi
Coming just two months after another suicide bomber struck in the same Russian city, it will bolster fears of attacks by Islamist militants as Russia prepares to host the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
The Black Sea city lies 690 kilometres (425 miles) southwest of Volgograd and in direct proximity of the violence ravaging North Caucasus regions such as Dagestan and Chechnya on a daily basis.
Militants are seeking to impose an Islamist state throughout Russia's North Caucasus.
Their leader Doku Umarov has ordered his foot soldiers to target civilians outside the region and disrupt the Olympic Games.
Female suicide bombers are often referred to in Russia as "black widows" – women who seek to avenge the deaths of their family members in North Caucasus fighting by targeting Russian civilians.
Female suicide bombers set off blasts at two Moscow metro stations in March 2010 that killed more than 35 people.
So-called black widows were also responsible for taking down two passenger jets that took off from a Moscow airport within minutes of each other in 2004, killing about 90 people.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP and REUTERS)
Date created : 2013-12-29