x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Suicide bombing hits Moscow airport

At least 31 people have been killed and around 130 injured in an apparent suicide bombing at Domodedovo airport in Moscow, according to news agency reports.

MOSCOW // A explosion ripped through the arrivals hall at Moscow's busiest airport this afternoon, killing 31 people and wounding about 130, health ministry officials said.

The state RIA Novosti news agency said the explosion may have been caused by a suicide bomber.

Moscow police were put on high alert and immediately beefed up patrols in the subway system, a previous target of terrorists.

Mark Green, a British Airways passenger who had just arrived at the airport, told BBC television he heard the huge explosion as he was leaving the terminal.

"Literally, it shook you," he said. "As we were putting the bags in the car a lot of alarms … were going off and people started flowing out of the terminal, some of whom were covered in blood.

"One gentleman had a pair of jeans on that was ripped and his thigh from his groin to his knee was covered in blood," he added.

Mr Green said thousands of people were in the terminal at the time of the blast.

The Russkaya Sluzhba Novostei radio station quoted a traveller, identified as Viktor, as saying he heard the bang outside the airport, where he was waiting for a car.

"There was an explosion, a bang. Then I saw a policeman covered in fragments of flesh and all bloody. He was shouting, 'I've survived! I've survived!"'

Domodedovo is generally regarded as Moscow's most up-to-date airport, but its security procedures have been called into question.

In 2004, two suicide bombers were able to board planes at Domodedovo by buying tickets illegally from airport personnel. The bombers blew themselves up in mid-air, killing all 90 people aboard the two flights.

In more recent suicide bombings in Moscow, twin blasts on the subway last March killed 39 people and wounded more than 60 people.

In December 2009, Chechen rebels claimed responsibility for blowing up a high-speed train between Moscow and St Petersburg, an attack that killed 26 people and injured scores.