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Subway attack. Versions


How exactly terrorists manage to find flaws in St. Petersburg subway’s security, how many accomplices Dzhalilov had and why special services failed to prevent the terrorist attack. Report by Evgeniy Solovyev


Moreover, the terrorist attack happened on April 3rd. This day is officially marked as the date of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation. A terrorist attack on a day when the FSB officers are celebrating their professional holiday. It takes some guts. But experts are also asking another question – why did the IED detonate in daytime? After 2 PM? Not during the rush-hour? Because when it comes to being ruthless, terrorists have always been meticulous. It's highly unlikely that they would change their plans to kill as many people as possible. Because they've never violated this pattern. But now somebody did. By accident or intentionally. Egor Solovyev discusses the versions, which are now being considered by the investigators and independent experts

April 3rd. 2:30 PM. Explosion rocks the third train car between Sennaya Ploschad and Technologicheskiy Institut stations. In less than 24 hours, law-enforcement officials of St. Petersburg say that this was done by a suicide bomber. Mass media distribute photographs of Kyrgyzstan native Akbarzhon Dzhalilov. In five days after the tragedy, he is still the main suspect. According to investigators, it was Dzhalilov who detonated the bomb, although many independent experts cast doubt on this allegation. A bomb filled with shrapnel was in Dzhalilov’s backpack. 14 people were killed, including the suicide bomber. 49 passengers of the train were admitted to hospitals with different wounds 

Judging by how deformed the train car was and by the shrapnel which was removed from it, there is no doubt – it was a bomb, according to specialists. Most likely, and IED filled with metallic balls and bolts - for bigger damage

Dmitriy Kurdesov, head of social movement “Za Bezopasnost”: “Judging by the fact that metallic parts have no deformations, the explosion was not really powerful – about 200-300 grams of TNT. Because all windows were shattered. Meaning that shrapnel broke the glass, but did not deform the metallic body.

There were two explosive devices. The second bomb, masked as a fire extinguisher, was found in a stray bag at the Ploschad Vosstaniya station. It was estimated to be much more powerful – 1 kg of TNT. Why it was not set off is a different matter. A National Guard soldier who defused it risking his life later said – the terrorists’ modus operandi is definitely Middle Eastern.

The very same metallic balls were found by specialists in the second bomb. And Akbarzhon Dzhalilov's fingerprints on the bag

Organizing a terrorist attack like that sole-handedly is impossible. That is something that all specialists are unanimous on. Investigators are now checking the information that Dzhalilov was connected to ISIS (terrorist organization banned in Russia). And in February this year he went to Turkey and tried to cross the Syrian border. Another interesting detail. The organization banned in Russia has not yet claimed responsibility for the attack

Three days after the bombing. These shots show detention of eight Central Asian migrants. According to investigators, they were recruiting people. They promised them new wives and huge sums of money. Besides that, a connection between recruiters and the suspected suicide bomber is being established. Many other suspects, just as Dzhalilov himself, came from the city of Osh in Kyrgyzstan. But they all say they're not guilty

Atabek Rustamov: “Nobody complained about me, I wasn't recruiting anyone. I was in Sunni groups on social media”

Suspected recruiters, according to investigators, have been conducting their activities in Russia since 2015. But how were they found?

Interesting observation. During March, 10 metro stations were closed because of suspicious objects – boxes and bags – which were found on platforms and lobbies of the subway system. Here are just some officially recorded cases

March 10. The Komendantskiy Prospekt, Krestovskiy Ostrov and Staraya Derevnya stations were closed. Official reason – technical malfunction

March 11, 8:51 PM. The Grazhdanskiy Prospekt station. Closed because of suspicious bag

March 21. 6:20 PM. A box found at Ploschad Lenina station

March 26. 4 PM. The Krestovskiy Ostrov station closed. Somebody left a bag at the platform

March 28. 10:50 PM. The Vyborgskaya station closed. Suspicious object on the platform

March 31. 6:15 PM. The Primorskaya station closed for both entrance and exit. A suspicious box was found

April 3. 8:46 AM. Six hours before the terrorist attack. The Chernaya Rechka station. Closed because of a suspicious object.

Several days after the subway explosion, newspapers published information – quoting sources within law enforcement – that special service knew about the planned terrorist attacks in St. Petersburg. It was reported that an informer embedded within ISIS, recruited by counter intelligence, provided a list of telephone numbers of attackers, who were dispatched into Russia after training. But it was later revealed, that those telephone numbers did not belong to concrete people. And all that the services could do was to track down the phone calls and identify how many people could be involved in the organization

But is it easy enough to buy a Sim card in St. Petersburg and remain anonymous? Let's try this. Sennaya Square. Sales office of a popular network provider

  • Hi. A little problem. We need a Sim card, but we don't have a passport. Will you sell it?

  • No

  • Why?

  • We have strict regulations

But we are not giving up. There's another office nearby

  • I need a Sim card, but I have no passport. Left it at home.

  • So buy it in the underground passage.

  • Where?

  • Right here, at Sennay Square.

  • Are they selling those?

  • Well, maybe not now. It's been strict after the terrorist attack.

  • But who's after them?

  • You know who

Local residents confirm. Yes. Sim cards are being sold here without documents. But not actively today. Too many police

We didn't manage to buy it here. But next to the metro station, according to managers of the sales offices, there are plenty of private sellers who have a lot of burner Sim cards. And they're ready to distribute them almost for free

If you don't want to get on the radar, you can order such simple cards online. Those will be quickly delivered without even asking for one's name

Nevertheless, the numbers of suspected organizers and participants of terrorist attacks were known. And there's a question – why the person who committed the suicide bombing wasn't detained before he pulled the trigger? It's hard to believe that it was impossible to determine the location of a man who's cell phone had been known to the authorities. Especially considering what the special services are capable of do today. Which leaves us to believe – Dzhalilov was not on the list of possible terrorists.

But even a more logical idea was put forward by vice president of organization of the “Alfa” unit veterans Alexey Filatov.

Alexey Filatov, vice-president of the organization of the “Alfa” unit veterans: “I don't think it was a suicide bomber. It was a man who was like a blind bomb. It was set off from a distance, when he had no idea that he would be exploded. Moreover, I assume that he may not have even known that he was carrying an explosive device, even more so - a remotely controlled one

So what exactly happened in St. Petersburg on the April 3rd? What was the motivation of those who organized this horrible crime? And the most important thing – how do we prevent such tragedies from happening again? Too many questions. Why wasn't it detonated during the rush-hour? Why ISIS fighters, who are always keen to claim responsibility for such attacks, are being silent? Law-enforcement will have to find answers to all of those. And by the way. Regardless of all the criticism towards the special services right now, it is thanks to their professionalism that there were 40 terrorist attacks prevented in St. Petersburg in last year alone, according to official data