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Togliatti blast suspect identified: investigators

As Russians are mourning the victims of Wednesday’s bus explosion in the city of Togliatti investigators say they have identified a suspect. The motive of the blast that left eight people dead and more than 60 injured, though, is still to be determined.

It has not been confirmed yet whether the suspect has been detained, or was killed in the blast.

“We are satisfied because we have a specific suspect at this point. This person’s house has been searched and the people close to this person are being questioned. We have reason to believe that this person either voluntarily or unintentionally caused the blast. According to witnesses and first hand accounts, the person was seen leaving his home, going to the bus station, and then boarding the bus. The motive behind the explosion is still unknown,” the head of the investigation, Aleksandr Bastrykin, stated.

Also, police found nails and aluminium wire similar to those that struck the passengers in the vehicle in the apartment of one of those killed.

Meanwhile, security measures have been stepped up in the region. Both public transport and private cars are being checked.

“It’s rather a complicated procedure when we speak about the prevention of terrorist attacks in public transport. It’s impossible to search every bus passenger. We also cannot install special equipment for explosive detection as they do in airports, or employ sniffer dogs,” Arkady Baskaev State Duma Deputy says.

Doku Umarov
Doku Umarov

There have been reports that Chechen militant Doku Umarov may be connected to the explosion.

Meanwhile, the U.S.-backed station Radio Liberty has received a video tape on which the militant urges a “Holy War” not only against Russia, the U.S., the UK and Israel, but also against all states, he says, are waging war against Muslims.

The script of the tape was sent to the radio station earlier last month.

Togliatti residents held a rally to commemorate those killed. People gathered in the centre of the city to lay flowers and light candles. Some brought poems that they've written.

The explosion took place early in the morning at the crossroads of Marx Street and Gagarin Street.

Among the injured are children, students and several university teachers. Many of them were outside the bus when the explosion occurred, and were hit by debris. They were taken to hospitals – most of them with burns and shrapnel wounds. Remarkably, most are now in a stable condition, despite the explosion being the equivalent of up to two kilos of TNT. 

All eight people killed have been identified.

According to acting deputy city mayor Vladimir Ivanov, relatives of those killed will get $US 12,000 compensation, and between $US 4,000 and 8,000 will be paid to those injured.