The Russian leadership has vowed to hunt down those behind the deadly bombing at Moscow's Domodedovo Airport, which killed 35 people and injured more than 130. Caucasus terrorists were thought to be behind the attack.
The blast killed at least 35 and injured more than 100
The Kremlin came out swinging a day after a deadly bombing at Moscow’s busiest airport, laying blame for the explosion on airport security and pledging to hunt down those behind the suicide attack.
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin vowed revenge for the bombing, which killed 35 people, including eight foreigners, and injured more than 130. He told Interfax news agency that justice was "inevitable."
"The terrorists will pay for this horrible and senseless crime," he said Tuesday as he visited victims of the attack. "I do not doubt that this crime will be solved and that retribution is inevitable."
President Dmitry Medvedev, meanwhile, said he held the management of Domodedovo Airport, the country's busiest, partially accountable for security breaches that allowed the attack to happen.
"What happened demonstrates that there were clear security breaches. Someone had to try very hard to carry or bring through such a vast amount of explosives," the Interfax news agency quoted Medvedev as saying.
"Everyone linked to the company that makes decisions there, and the management of the airport itself, has to answer for everything."
Medvedev went on to say that Russian authorities would do everything possible to bring those behind the attack to justice.
Airport security was tightened after the attack
"Everything must be done to find, expose and bring the bandits who committed this crime to court. And the nests of these bandits, however deep they have dug in, must be liquidated."
He also pledged financial support of over $100,000 (73,000 euros) to each injured survivor or bereaved family.
Medvedev held an emergency meeting with the FSB intelligence service later Tuesday, where he told the organization it had to learn lessons from the bombing. He also ordered the Interior Ministry to recommend transport security officials for dismissal.
The president was due to head to the Swiss town of Davos, where he was scheduled to deliver the opening speech at the World Economic Forum on Wednesday. Medvedev had earlier said he would postpone his journey to the gathering.
Female bombers suspected
Russian security officials suspect militants from the country's Muslim-majority North Caucasus region were behind the planning and execution of Monday's deadly bombing at Domodedovo Airport.
The state-run news agency RIA Novosti quoted an unnamed security official as saying a female suicide bomber may have carried out the attack, and that the bombing "followed the classic scheme" of terrorists from the North Caucasus.
"The explosion occurred the moment the presumed female suicide bomber opened her bag," the security official said. "The terrorist was accompanied by a man. He was standing beside her and [the blast] tore off his head."
Investigators said on Monday that they discovered a head of "Arab appearance" that was first suspected of belonging to the suicide bomber.
Russia's Emergency Ministry published a preliminary casualty list on Tuesday, saying eight foreign citizens were killed in the attack, including at least one German.
Moscow's Mayor Sergey Sobjanin declared Tuesday an official day of mourning as Muscovites grieved in the wake of the attack.
Investigators suspect a female suicide bomber in the attack
The airport bombing recalled another attack in Moscow on March 29 last year, when two female suicide bombers carried out dual bombings on the city's metro, killing 40 people.
The attack was blamed on so-called "Black Widows" - women from the North Caucasus who volunteered for suicide bombings after their militant husbands were killed in fighting with Russian security forces.
Russia has been fighting for stability and control in the North Caucasus for years. Then-President Vladimir Putin launched a war in late 1999 to defeat a rebellious government in semi-autonomous Chechnya.
Author: Andrew Bowen, Darren Mara (AP, AFP, Reuters)
Editor: Nancy Isenson