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Europe

At least 35 dead in Moscow airport blast

Russian airports have tightened security following a bombing at the country's busiest airport in Moscow. President Dmitry Medvedev has vowed to hunt down the perpetrators.

The outside of Domodedovo Airport after the attack

The airport is Moscow's busiest

At least 35 people have died and more than 150 have been injured in a suicide bomb blast at Moscow's Domodedovo Airport Monday.

Witness reports say the suicide bomber yelled, "I will kill you all," before detonating bombs packed with nails and other sharp metal objects.

Smoke rolled through the international arrivals hall at the major transport hub in the wake of the deadly attack, as bodies lay about on the floor. Emergency workers rushed from victim to victim in an effort to keep the death toll at a minimum. Little could be done for the many who were simply too close to the detonation.

Interfax said on its website that the explosion took place near the luggage check-in section, where hundreds of would-be travelers would have undoubtedly been assembled before their flights.

Witnesses and survivors told harrowing stories of mayhem breaking out following the explosions and of security officials scrambling to clear streets and gangways to allow ambulances through.

Other witnesses said the blast wave also tore through a series of small cafés and tables that lined a wall in the arrival hall.

The explosion reportedly had the force of between five and seven kilograms (11 and 15.4 pounds) of TNT.

Suspected terrorist attack

Security personnel outside a terminal at Domodedovo Airport

Security was heightened at all of Moscow's airports

Russian authorities swung into crisis mode shortly after the bombing. Interfax reported that police were searching for three men in connection with the explosion.

The bomber was suspected to come from Russia's tumultuous North Caucasus region. Media reports have suggested that Russia's FSB security service had plans of the attack as early as a week ago.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev chaired an emergency meeting of top officials later Monday and ordered that all transport hubs across the country be placed on high alert.

'Common threat'

The international community has reacted quickly to condemn the attack.

"Nothing can justify this barbaric act," German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said. "We offer our condolences to the relatives and friends of the victims."

NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen expressed the Western alliance's "solidarity" with Russia, adding that terrorism was "a common threat that we have to face united."

The United Nations Security Council also condemned the attack in the "strongest terms." UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called it "deplorable and unjustifiable."

Security at Moscow's two other major airports, Vnukovo and Sheremetyevo, was heightened late Monday, and city police were put on alert in case of further terror attacks in the capital, according to Russian broadcaster RT.

International flights to Domodedovo - Russia's largest aviation hub in terms of passenger and cargo traffic - were reportedly put on hold following the explosion.

Moscow suffered its worst terrorist attack less than a year ago, when two suicide bombers from Russia's volatile Dagestan region set off explosives in the metro, killing 40 people.

Authors: Darren Mara, David Levitz (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)
Editor: Martin Kuebler

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