Two female suicide bombers blew themselves up on Moscow's subway system as it was jam-packed with rush-hour passengers Monday, killing at least 35 people and wounding 38, the city's mayor and other officials said.
Emergency Ministry spokeswoman Svetlana Chumikova said 23 people were killed in an explosion shortly before 8 a.m. at the Lubyanka station in central Moscow. The station is underneath the building that houses the main offices of the Federal Security Service, or FSB, the KGB's main successor agency.
A second explosion hit the Park Kultury station about 45 minutes later. Chumikova said at least 12 were dead there. The ministry later said 38 people were injured, The Associated Press reported.
According to RIA Novosti, the blasts, described by a police source as "a well-planned terrorist attack," took place in crowded trains as people hurried to work on the first day of the working week.
Russia's top investigator Vladimir Markin said investigation had been launched on terrorism charges and that suicide bombers were suspected of having detonated the devices, each packing the equivalent of up to 2 kg of TNT. A police source told RIA Novosti that both of the bombers were female.
Police with sniffer dogs are carrying out inspections of other stations as the capital remains on high alert. Security has been tightened at the capital's overland train terminals and airports.
With central Moscow at a standstill, the injured are being ferried to hospitals across the capital by helicopter. Police have appealed for calm
Emergencies ministry chief Sergei Shoigu has reported to President Dmitry Medvedev on the ongoing operation.
If terrorism is confirmed as the cause of the blasts, this will be the first major terrorist incident in the Russian capital since autumn 2004, when 90 people died in two plane bombings and 10 people were killed in bomb attack outside a north Moscow metro station. The same series of attacks culminated in the deaths of over 300 people, many of then children, when Chechen terrorists seized a school in Beslan.
A terrorist blast in the Moscow metro in February 2004 killed some 40 people.
More than 3,500 people were detained during unprecedented mass protests that swept across all of Russia in support of Alexey Navalny on January 23