Russia mourns a year after Saint Petersburg metro bombing

Saint Petersburg (AFP) –


Russians on Tuesday marked one year since a metro bombing in the northwestern city of Saint Petersburg that killed 15 people and wounded dozens of others as investigators said they have identified all those responsible.

In Saint Petersburg, the country's second largest city, residents came to lay flowers and mourn at the metro station where the attack took place and attended a church memorial service.

"When something like this happens, it's impossible to remain indifferent, not to realise that now no one is safe anywhere. That's how our life is," said 35-year-old Galina Semenets.

"Our family has still not managed to accept this. The pain has still not left us," said another woman, Natalia, who lost a relative in the attack.

The alleged perpetrator, Akbarjon Djalilov, who died in the attack, was a 22-year-old Russian citizen but was born in ex-Soviet Kyrgyzstan in Central Asia.

The largely Muslim region has been a major source of fighters who have travelled to join the Islamic State jihadist group in Syria and Iraq.

Russia's Investigative Committee, which is in charge of the probe, said Tuesday that it is "in the final stages" and 11 suspects have been detained.

The investigators said they had managed to establish "the whole chain of people involved in committing this crime, including the mastermind, the organiser and perpetrators."

The attack was "committed by one of the radical Islamic terrorist groups," investigators said, without specifying, adding that the plotters did not know each personally and communicated using electronic devices.

The bombing was claimed by a little-known group, the Imam Shamil Battalion, which experts say is linked to al-Qaeda.