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Russia: Terrorism nightmare shocks Moscow airport

25-01-2011

MOSCOW, (Xinhua & The Muslim News): Heavy smoke, bloody floor, scattered bodies ... Two hours after the powerful blast that killed 35 people and injured over 100 others at Moscow's busiest Domodedovo airport on Monday afternoon, all these horrible images were still reminding survivors and eyewitnesses of the nightmare they just experienced.

Eight foreign citizens, including two Britons, were killed.

A preliminary casualty list published by the ministry shows a German and a Bulgarian among the dead, along with one person each from the former Soviet republics of Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Ukraine.

It was the second deadly terrorist bombing that hit the Russian capital within less than a year. Initial reports said that the explosion happened at 4:32 p.m. Moscow time (1332 GMT) in Domodedovo Airport's luggage reclaim zone at the international arrivals terminal.

A witness, who only identified himself as Artemy, told Xinhua that he was waiting for somebody's arrival when he saw a man in a black coat leave a suspicious handbag in the hall.

And then the explosion happened, recalled Artemy, who still had a scared look on his face. His clothes were stained by dust and blood.

"The hall was very crowded when it (the bomb) exploded. I was thrown away (by the blast) for about three meters. Everyone was running for their lives," another witness who wouldn't give his name told Xinhua.

A female staff at the airport said the blast was very powerful. She heard a huge sound and saw heavy smoke fill up the hall immediately.

"You could see nothing. It was like hell," she recalled.

Video clips released on personal blogs by several eyewitnesses showed bodies scattered across the lounge floor which the bomb ripped through, and emergency workers covering the bodies.

Artemy said that most of those killed and injured were taxi drivers and people who were at the airport to meet their relatives or friends.

According to the information obtained by Russian investigators so far, two or three suspicious men entered the airport's international arrivals hall shortly before the explosion. One of them is believed to be carrying the bomb.

Xinhua correspondents noted that unlike in the departure section where metal detectors work all the time and security officers are on watch, the metal detector in the arrivals hall could be bypassed and there were not sufficient security guards to prevent that from happening.

A few hours after the blast, law enforcement officials confirmed that pieces of the terrorist suspect's body were found, the state-run Itar-Tass news agency reported.

"Fragments of the body were found, including the head. They are badly deformed and maimed, making it impossible to determine the ethnic origin or even sex visually," a law enforcement official was quoted as saying.

The blast, equivalent of 5-10 kg of TNT as local media reported, didn't disrupt the busiest air traffic hub of Moscow for a long time. When the night fell, the airport's operation already fully resumed. But the many police cars and fire trucks still parking around were testifying that a nightmare did happen.

Editor: yan

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