An unknown explosive device has detonated in a bus in Volgograd, 1,000km to the south-east of Moscow, killing at least five people and injuring 20. A terrorist attack is now viewed as the cause of the blast.
A terrorist act has been confirmed by the National Anti-terrorist Committee.
“Today at 2:05pm Moscow time [10:05 GMT] in Volgograd inside a bus, as a result of an unknown explosive device going off, a blast happened, leading to casualties,” a national Anti-terrorist Committee representative said in the statement.
Local police have ordered all movement of minivan buses to be halted.
“Control headquarters is coordinating fast response services, as well as security forces, to prevent more explosions from happening,” he said.
Emergency services are working at the scene, which is cordoned off. Bomb technicians are on the spot.
Witnesses reported that the front part of the vehicle was heavily damaged. Nearby there are many cars with broken windows.
A relative of one of the surviving passengers told Echo of Moscow radio the explosion went off in the middle of the bus aisle. There were a lot of youngsters on the bus at the time of the blast, he said.
Twenty people were injured in the blast, seven of them are in critical condition.
Forty passengers were on the bus.
The transport company which owned the bus said that the vehicle worked on diesel fuel, and there was no gas equipment on board.
Earlier, the malfunction of gas equipment inside the bus was listed as one of the possible causes of the blast. However, investigators soon indicated a terrorist act was the preliminary cause.
Russia’s Emergency Ministry is ready to send a plane to Volgograd to evacuate the injured to Moscow, according to the official representative of the Emergency Ministry, Irina Rossius.
Volgograd, formerly known as Stalingrad, is an important industrial city and the administrative center of Volgograd region located in the South of Russia.
At the present time more than 1 million people live in the city.
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