The first terrorist attack on the Russian capital for six years killed over 30 people as two terrorist bombs ripped through the central Moscow metro system during Monday morning's rush hour.
The first attack took place at 7:52 a.m. (04:52 GMT) at the Lubyanka station, located a short distance from the headquarters of the Federal Security Service (FSB), and killed at least 23 people, with another 18 injured.
The second blast detonated some 40 minutes later at the nearby Park Kultury station, within walking distance of the Kremlin. At least 12 people lost their lives and 15 were injured.
The FSB said female suicide bombers were responsible for both attacks.
The blasts, described by a police source as "a well-planned terrorist attack," took place in crowded trains as people hurried to work on the first day of the working week.
Russia's top investigator Vladimir Markin said investigation had been launched on terrorism charges and that suicide bombers were suspected of having detonated the devices, each packing the equivalent of up to 2 kg of TNT. A police source told RIA Novosti that both of the bombers were female.
Police with sniffer dogs are carrying out inspections of other stations as the capital remains on high alert. Security has been tightened at the capital's overland train terminals and airports.
With central Moscow at a standstill, the injured are being ferried to hospitals across the capital by helicopter. Police have appealed for calm
Emergencies ministry chief Sergei Shoigu has reported to President Dmitry Medvedev on the ongoing operation.
If terrorism is confirmed as the cause of the blasts, this will be the first major terrorist incident in the Russian capital since autumn 2004, when 90 people died in two plane bombings and 10 people were killed in bomb attack outside a north Moscow metro station. The same series of attacks culminated in the deaths of over 300 people, many of then children, when Chechen terrorists seized a school in Beslan.
A terrorist blast in the Moscow metro in February 2004 killed some 40 people.
A bomb also hit a Moscow-St. Petersburg express train late last year, killing dozens.
A telephone hotline has been opened - +7 495 622 1430 and + 7 495 624 3440.
MOSCOW, March 29 (RIA Novosti)