The BBC is reporting that at least 37 38 people have been killed in what are thought to have been suicide bombings in Moscow. No one has yet claimed responsibility, but it seems likely that the attacks are related to ongoing problems in the Caucasus, namely in Chechnya and Dagestan (and to a lesser extent, Ingushetia). The weapons were filled with wood chips and iron scraps, to maximize casualties. According to Russian authorities, the bombers were North Caucasian females.
Another source indicates that there may have been some warning that an attack was imminent:
Viktor Linnik, Editor-in-Chief of Slovo newspaper, told RT that “this is obviously a planned action.”
“Probably there have been leaks on terror acts being planned in Moscow because there have been very strong armed patrols in Moscow for the past five or six days,” he said.
“What has happened is a shock, but not a cause for panic. We have seen it before,” Linnik added.
Cell phones in the affected part of Moscow have reportedly been jammed due to fears that the blasts were set off remotely using mobile phones. The failure of cell phones in the area seems to have been caused by nothing more than an overload in the system.
Dmitri Medvedev and Vladimir Putin have both threatened to “destroy” the people responsible for the attacks. If the past is any measure of the future, we can expect a lot of innocent people in Chechnya, Ingushetia, and Dagestan to die or disappear in mass roundups of suspected terrorists.
A translation of Medvedev’s speech is here.
Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has expressed his condolences jointly with the President of Lithuania.