The man arrested this week in connection with the deadly St. Petersburg, Russia, metro bombing says he “did not realize” what he was doing. Abror Azimov’s remarks in court came moments after his lawyer, Armen Zadoyan, said Azimov had admitted his guilt. Fourteen people were killed in the April 4 attack that was carried out, Russian authorities say, by Akbarzhon Jalilov, a 22-year-old Kyrgyz-born Russian, who detonated a bomb between two metro stations. Nine people have been arrested in connection with the attack, including Azimov, who is also Kyrgyz-born. “I did not realize what I was doing,” Azimov told the court. “I was given orders, and I only followed them.”
Here’s what we know about the April 4 attack:
—A suspect arrested in connection with the attack that killed 14 people says he didn’t realize what he was doing.
—Nine people have been arrested in connection with the attack.
—Russian authorities say Akbarzhon Jalilov, a 22-year-old Kyrgyz-born Russian, detonated a bomb between two metro stations.
—This is a developing story and we’ll be following it here. All updates are in Eastern Standard Time (GMT -4).
St. Petersburg Suspect Says He Didn't Realize What He Was Doing
Russian Authorities Arrest 8 in Connection to Metro Attack
Russian authorities arrested eight people Thursday in connection to the suicide bombing attack in a St. Petersburg metro that left 13 passengers and the attacker dead. It is unclear how those arrested were connected to Monday’s attack. The arrests, six of which took place in Moscow and two in St. Petersburg, came two days after Russian and Kyrgyz authorities identified the individual behind the attack as 22-year-old Akbarzhon Dzhalilov. Russian authorities said materials found in Dzhalilov’s St. Petersburg apartment matched the the components of a defused explosive discovered by police at another St. Petersburg metro station the day of the attack. Authorities reportedly arrested six others Wednesday who Russia’s Investigative Committee said were being held on suspicion of recruiting for Islamist militant groups like the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra. It is unclear if those arrested were connected to Dzhalilov. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Russian, Kyrgyz Authorities Identify Suicide Bomber
Russian and Kyrgyz authorities identified the suicide bomber behind Monday’s attack in St. Petersburg as 22-year-old Akbarzhon Dzhalilov, local media reports. The Russian Investigative Committee said they were able to identify Dzhalilov, a Kyrgyz-born Russian citizen, by examining “fragmented remains” from one of the impacted train cars, adding his DNA was also found on a second bomb found at another metro station that was safely defused. Dzhalilov’s motive is not yet known, and no group has claimed responsibility for the attack. Earlier today, Kyrgyz authorities identified Dzhalilov as a Kyrgyz-born Russian citizen.
Attacker Was Possibly a Suicide Bomber; Kyrgyz Officials Name Him; Death Toll Rises
Russia's state investigative committee says the man who carried out yesterday’s bombing was possibly a suicide bomber. Parts of his body were found on the train’s third compartment, the committee said in a statement. “The man has been identified but his identity will not be disclosed for now in the interests of the investigation,” the committee said.
In Bishkek, capital of the former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan, authorities identified the attacker as Akbarzhon Jalilov, a Kyrgyz-born Russian citizen. Jalilov, Kyrgyzstan’s security service said, was born in Osh in 1995.
Meanwhile, the death toll from the blast rose to 14, Russian Health Minister Veronika Skvortsova said, after three people died in hospital; 49 people were wounded.
No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.
Health Minister Says 10 Dead, 47 Wounded
Health Minister Veronika Skvortsova said 10 people were killed in the blast and 47 wounded. Six people are in critical condition, she said. Here’s more from RT, the state-run broadcaster: “According to health officials, the victims being treated in hospitals vary in age from teenagers to as old as 70. They are suffering from burns, blunt head traumas, shrapnel injuries and lung damage.” The committee investigating the explosion praised the train’s driver: “The explosion happened in the tunnel between stations, but the driver took the right decision and brought it to the next station, which allowed evacuation and help to the injured to start at once. This may have prevented casualties,” the panel said.
Investigators Open a Terrorism Case
The Russian Investigative Committee has opened a terrorism case into Monday’s Saint Petersburg train explosion, according to state-run Sputnik. In Facebook post, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev also called the attack an act of terrorism (translation via BBC): “All those who were injured in the terrorist attack in St Petersburg metro will receive all the medical help they need. All instructions have been issued to the health and emergencies ministries. My most heartfelt commiserations go out to the friends and relatives of the victims of the explosion. This is our common pain.” This does not mean the explosion is being treated solely as an act of terrorism, and President Vladimir Putin early said investigators would explore all potential causes.
A Second Bomb Was Safely Defused
Russian authorities said they safely defused a second explosive device found at another train station. The bomb was reportedly found inside a briefcase left at the Ploshchad Vosstaniya station, about 15 minutes from where the explosion Monday morning killed at least nine people.
Nine Killed, 20 Injured in Explosion, Authorities Say
Russia’s National Antiterrorism Committee says a blast aboard a trail traveling between Tekhnologichesky Institut and Sennaya Ploshchad metro stations in St. Petersburg has killed nine people and injured 20 others, some of them seriously. Previous reports said the blast killed 10 people.
Authorities Say There Was One Blast Aboard a Train
Russia’s National Antiterrorism Committee said there was one explosion inside a car as the train was traveling between Tekhnologichesky Institut and Sennaya Ploshchad, according to RT, the state-owned broadcaster. Previous reports said there were two blasts—one at Tekhnologichesky Institut and the other at Sennaya Ploshchad.
Moscow Metro Was Targeted in 2010
In 2010, two suicide bombers on metro trains in Moscow killed at least 38 people. It’s important to note here that no one has claimed responsibility for the St. Petersburg explosions, nor have investigators publicly determined the cause of the blasts. Russia has been a frequent target of separatist groups. Security experts have said its involvement in the Syrian civil war on the side of President Bashar al-Assad also makes it vulnerable.
Putin Says All Angles, Including Terrorism, Are Being Considered
Russian President Vladimir Putin, who was briefed about the explosions in St. Petersburg, says investigators are examining all possible causes for the blasts, including terrorism. Putin was in the city at the time for a meeting with the president of Belarus. Separately, St. Petersburg’s metro system was shut, and passengers were evacuated.
Video From the Scene Shows Smoke, Damage
At Least 10 Dead, Russian State Media Report
At least 10 people are dead after explosions struck two metro stations in St. Petersburg, Russia, state media report, citing unnamed emergency officials. The blasts reportedly occurred at Sennaya Ploschad station and Tekhnologichesky Institute station.