11 dead in terror blast on Belarus metro (UPDATE)

11 dead in terror blast on Belarus metro (UPDATE)

Data on the number of dead and injured updated (first version posted at 21:59)

At least 11 people were killed and more than 100 injured in an explosion at a Minsk underground station Monday, which the Belarus authorities have described as a terrorist attack, dpa reported.

Hundreds of people evacuated the station after the explosion, which took place at the height of rush hour.

Officials late Monday suggested there may have been two blasts, not just the one reported earlier.

President Aleksander Lukashenko called an immediate crisis meeting. He also spoke by telephone with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. The blast took place near his residence.

Lukashenko runs a highly authoritarian government and presidential elections last year saw opponents beaten up and imprisoned.

A previous terrorist bomb attack in Minsk on Independence Day in July 2008 saw 50 people injured. Although four KGB men were later arrested, and suspicions raised about the involvement of the nationalist White Legion underground movement, the case was never solved.

Ambulances and firefighters were on the scene as well KGB agents and police, who cordoned off the blast site and blocked an adjacent metro station. Black smoke was initially seen at street level from the blast.

Medics treated some victims outside the metro entrance, while at least six others were taken away in ambulances. Some were bloody and others had blackened faces, web photographs showed.

Videos posted on the internet after the explosion showed victims with injuries to limbs.

One man with cuts to his face described the explosion: "It was a pop, not particularly loud. Glass...then dust. And there was a lot of blood."

Five bodies were lying motionless on the station platform, he said, in a video posted by the newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper.

Twitter reports from persons saying they were there at the time of the explosion were conflicting, with some saying the explosion took place aboard a train passing through Okyabrskaya Station, and others describing the blast as within the station itself.

Some of the victims were injured after a roof section above an escalator fell on commuters, according to unconfirmed reports.

The explosion took place at a central station connecting two metro lines in the Belarusian capital. The station is located near the residence of President Aleksander Lukashenko.

Pavel Legkii, a Lukashenko spokesman, said injured would receive "all necessary support" from the government, according to Interfax.

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