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St. Petersburg Metro Explosion: 11 Dead In Russia Blast

By Tim Lister, Emma Burrows and Angela Dewan

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (CNN) -- Eleven people were killed in a blast on the St. Petersburg metro on Monday, the Russian health ministry said, in what authorities described as a terrorist attack.

An explosion tore through a train as it was traveling between two stations in Russia's second-biggest city, injuring dozens more.

A second device was found and defused at another station, Russia's Anti-terrorist Committee said. No group has so far claimed responsibility for the attack, which led to the shutdown of the entire metro system in St. Petersburg.

Latest developments

The blast was caused by an unidentified explosive device.

Explosion happened in a train car as it passed through a tunnel.

Entire metro system shut down after evacuations.

Dozens injured, several in critical condition, authorities said.

Second device found at another metro station, now disabled.

President Putin was in St. Petersburg before explosion.

The blast happened as the train was traveling in a tunnel from Sennaya Ploshchad to Tekhnologichesky Institute stations in the center of the city. In the confusion, first reports suggested there were two blasts.

Photographs show the facade of one of the cars ripped off, while others showed passengers running from the Tekhnologichesky Institute station as it filled with smoke. Victims said they helped each other escape the train.

Bodies were seen strewn across a station platform outside the train. Bandaged and bloodied victims were carried out of the station by rescuers.
President Vladimir Putin, who had been in St Petersburg earlier in the day, said all causes were being investigated, including terrorism.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev described the explosion as a "terrorist act."

Investigation underway

A spokesman for the National Anti-terrorism Committee said that the blast was caused by an unidentified explosive device in one of the train's cars.

"So far, we say it was an unidentified explosive device as investigators and the Federal Security Service's bomb specialists are to establish the exact cause of this explosion," Andrei Przhezdomsky told state-run Russia 24.

A second device was found at another metro station -- Revolutionary Square -- but was disabled, the committee said in statement.

Thirty-nine people have been hospitalized, six of whom with critical injuries, the health ministry said. Other authorities in St Petersburg gave differing numbers for the injured.

The St. Petersburg metro has five lines and 67 stations. It transports 2.3 million people a day and has more than 1,600 train cars.

'We expected death'

Passengers described the horror in the aftermath of the blast.

"In the metro car, everyone expected death, if I can say that. After the explosion, everyone expected consequences. Then we were taken out, and people began to help each other, brought others out. Most were covered in blood," a passenger on the train told TASS.

Another passenger at the Sennaya station, Stanislav Listyev, said he felt the explosion and saw smoke coming out of the tunnel.

"I was going down the escalator at Sennaya square at about half past 2, and at that moment I felt an explosion wave underneath. Everything was filled with smoke, people started panicking. So the trains stopped and almost immediately the evacuation started," he told CNN.

The source who confirmed the explosion to TASS said preliminary information indicated that around 10 people were killeßsd, adding that the exact number of victims was still being established. The death toll was later revised to 11.

Putin statement

President Putin expressed his condolences to the victims and is talking to the FSB security services about the investigation, according to state media.

He said he was not ruling out any causes.

"The reasons for the explosion are unknown, so it's too early to talk about it. The investigation will show what happened," Putin said, beginning a meeting with Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko.

"Naturally, we always consider all options -- both domestic and criminal, primarily incidents of a terrorist nature."

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Putin had been in St. Petersburg speaking at an event earlier Monday.

Viktor Ozerov, chairman of the defense committee in the Federation Council, said that the choice of St. Petersburg as a target may have been tied to Putin's visit there for a media event.

"The choice of the place and the timing of these blasts is not accidental. The president of Russia is in [St. Petersburg], the media forum is taking place there, there are many journalists," Ozerov said.

Medvedev said vicitms would be provided with "all necessary assistance." He said in a Facebook message: "My most sincere condolences to the families and friends of the victims of the explosion."

Russia was once a hotspot for terror attacks but the country has experienced relatively few in recent years.

In December 2013, a suicide bombing at a train station in Volgograd killed at least 16 people. The following day, in the same city, a suicide bombing on a trolley bus killed 14 people.

In 2010, two female suicide bombers blew themselves up at two Moscow metro stations, killing 40. They were linked to the Chechen insurgency.

And in 2002, Chechen rebels killed 170 people in a theater hostage situation in the capital, Moscow.

The-CNN-Wire ™ & © 2017 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

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