Two female suicide bombers attacked Moscow’s subway system this morning, killing themselves and 37 other passengers in a terrorist attack. Not a lot of details are known at this time, but Russian security suspects that Islamist rebels in the Caucasus are responsible for the murders (via the Boss Emeritus):
Two female homicide bombers blew themselves up on Moscow’s subway system as it was jam-packed with rush-hour passengers Monday, killing at least 37 people and wounding 102, officials said.
The head of Russia’s main security agency said preliminary investigation places the blame on rebels from the restive Caucasus region that includes Chechnya, where separatists have fought Russian forces since the mid-1990s.
The first explosion took place just before 8 a.m. at the Lubyanka station in central Moscow. The station is underneath the building that houses the main offices of the Federal Security Service, or FSB, the KGB’s main successor agency.
A second explosion hit the Park Kultury station about 45 minutes later.
Emergency Minister Sergei Shoigu said the toll was 37 killed and 102 injured, but he did not give a breakdown of casualties at each station, according to Russian news agencies.
CNN says the attacks bear the hallmarks of Chechen “Black Widows,” a known group of female terrorists:
Monday’s bomb attacks on the Moscow subway bear the hallmarks of an operation carried out by female Chechen suicide bombers called “Black Widows,” according to security analysts. …
The use of women as suicide bombers or “Black Widows,” is one way in which the struggle in Chechnya is different from al Qaeda and more analogous to the military campaign waged by the IRA in Northern Ireland, says Ayers.
“This war is politically motivated, it is not about a religious ideology as in the case of al Qaeda, so everyone participates and it is ultimately irrelevant if you are a man or a woman,” said Ayers.
“They are not like al Qaeda who might say women should be hidden away and have no role in attacks.”
The “Black Widows” are believed to be made up of women whose husbands, brothers, fathers or other relatives have been killed in the conflict. The women are often dressed head-to-toe in black and wear the so-called “martyr’s belt” filled with explosives.
That’s not quite true. AQ has been known to use women in their attacks, mainly in Iraq. AQ has also used burqas as a ruse to hide men. While the Chechnyan conflict started off as a political rebellion, it has been an Islamist affair for most of the last several years. The “Black Widows” took part in the infamously botched seizure of a Moscow theater in 2002, when Russian authorities gassed the hostages and terrorists in an attempt to disable them, but wound up killing many of them instead.
CNN also has some video of the aftermath of this attack:
The Russians are looking for the other two women who accompanied the terrorists, but the question may be whether more attacks are coming.