Circling the Lion's Den

Dual suicide bombings in the Moscow subway

On March 29, 2010 two female suicide bombers carried out bombings during the morning rush hour at two stations of the Moscow Metro (Lubyanka and Park Kultury), with roughly 40 minutes interval between. 39 people were killed, and over 100 injured. The first explosion tore through the second carriage of a train at 0756 (0356GMT), as it stood at central Lubyanka station waiting for morning rush hour commuters to board.

The station, on both the busy Sokolnicheskaya and Tagansko-Krasnopresnenskaya lines, lies beneath the headquarters of the Federal Security Service (FSB). The second blast at Park Kultury, which is six stops away from Lubyanka on the Sokolnicheskaya line, came at 0838 (0438 GMT). It struck at the back of the train as people were getting on board.

The security services said the bomb that went off at Lubyanka station had an equivalent force of up to 4kg of TNT, while the bomb at Park Kultury was equivalent to 1.5-2kg of TNT.

The devices - believed to have been made with the powerful explosive, hexogen, which is more commonly known as RDX - were filled with chipped iron rods and screws for shrapnel.

The co-ordinated attacks were the deadliest in Moscow since February 2004, when 40 people were killed by a bomb on a packed metro train as it approached the Paveletskaya station.

On March 31, Chechen rebel leaderDoku Umarov claimed responsibility for ordering the attacks in a video released on the internet.

On August 21, 2010 Magomedali Vagabov, along with four other militants, was killed in an operation in Dagestan. Vagabov is believed to be a militant behind the bombings, a close associate of Doku Umarov and the husband of Mariam Sharipova, one of the two suicide bombers.

Sources:

  • CNN 30.03.2010 "Female suicide bombers blamed in Moscow subway attacks"
  • BBC 29.03.2010 "Moscow Metro hit by deadly suicide bombings"
  • NPR 29.03.2010 "Dual Suicide Attacks Kill 39 On Moscow Subway"