Suspect identified in Russia bus bomb attack - investigator

Other News Materials 1 November 2007 13:27 (UTC +04:00)

( RIA Novosti ) - Russian investigators have identified a suspect in Wednesday's Volga area bus bombings, the federal head of the investigations committee, Alexander Bastrykin, said on Thursday.

Bastrykin also said a search of the suspect's apartment had been carried out, and that bomb parts which "could have been used for the preparation of a homemade explosive device," had been found.

In answer to journalists' questions as to whether the suspect had been detained or had perished in the explosion, Bastrykin replied, "No comment".

He also said the bomb was similar to a device used by members of far-right group in a 2006 attack on Moscow's Cherkizovsky market which killed 11 people.

The governor of the central Russian region of Samara declared Thursday a day of mourning for the victims of Wednesday's bus explosion in Togliatti on the Volga, which left 8 dead and more than 50 injured.

The bomb, which exploded on a packed bus during the Wednesday morning rush hour, was attached to the underside of the vehicle and had a charge of almost two kilograms ( 4.4 pounds) of TNT equivalent, a spokesman for the regional police department said.

"The explosive device which detonated in the passenger bus had no solid encasement, and was packed with metal fragments, pellets, bolts and screws," the spokesman said, adding that forensic experts had confirmed this.

Of the eight people who lost their lives in the bombing, only one has yet to be officially identified. The majority of the victims of the bomb attack were students on their way to university.

A high-placed source involved in the ongoing criminal investigation said they were currently considering several scenarios. One of these was a terrorist act, with the bomb having been detonated by either a suicide bomber or by remote control. The second possible scenario being considered is a dispute between criminal groups.

Law enforcement authorities received information two weeks ago that Chechen militant leader Doku Umarov was preparing a large-scale terrorist act, the source also said.

Togliatti, with a population of about 700,000 people, is home to Russia's largest automaker AvtoVaz, which produces cars under the Lada brand.