Are we allowed to call them terrorists yet? Horrifying news out of Russia today.
(Reuters) – A suicide bomber killed at least 31 people and injured more than 130 on Monday at Moscow’s Domodedovo airport, Russia’s biggest.
President Dmitry Medvedev vowed to track down and punish those behind the attack, which analysts said appeared to fit a pattern of bombings by Islamist militants fighting to create an independent “emirate” in Russia’s north Caucasus region.
“The explosion was right near me, I was not hit but I felt the shock wave — people were falling,” said Yekaterina Alexandrova, a translator who was waiting in the crowded arrivals area to meet a client flying in from abroad.
“Smoke started to gather — there was a lot of smoke,” she said by telephone. “Many of the injured went outside on their own in a state of shock. Then they began to announce information about where to exit.”
The Kremlin said Medvedev, who has called the insurgency in the north Caucasus the biggest threat to Russia’s security, was delaying a trip to the Davos international business forum in Switzerland.
The rebels have vowed to take the bombing campaign to the Russian heartland, hitting transport and economic targets.
“Security will be strengthened at large transport hubs,” Medvedev wrote on Twitter. “We mourn the victims of the terrorist attack at Domodedovo airport. The organizers will be tracked down and punished.”
Russia’s rouble-dominated stock market MICEX fell by nearly two percent following the blast, which ripped through the arrivals hall.
Twitter users posted mobile video phone footage of dozens of people lying on the floor as thick smoke filled the terminal hall and a fire burned along one wall.
Airport staff were shown using flash lights to pick their way through the chaotic scene taped immediately after the blast. Later videos showed emergency workers wheeling injured people out of the terminal on stretchers.
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who shares power in a ‘tandem’ arrangement with the less influential Medvedev, has staked his political reputation on quelling rebellion in the north Caucasus.
He launched a war in late 1999 in Chechnya to topple a secessionist government. That campaign achieved its immediate aim and helped him to the presidency months later; but since then insurgency has spread to neighboring areas of Ingushetia and Dagestan.
“It does not … bode well for Russian ties to the North Caucasus and is yet another sign that what Putin started in 1999 by invading the rebellious republic of Chechnya has come home to roost again in the Russian capital,” said Glen Howard, president of the U.S. Jamestown Foundation research institution.
“The bomb blast at Domodedevo will further strengthen the view among the Russian elite that Putin is losing control over security in the capital, which plays into the hands of his enemies.”
I wonder if there is talk radio in Russia? If so, perhaps they can blame it on that.