The death toll from what Russian authorities are calling a terrorist attack at Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport has reached 35 with at least another 150 wounded, according to U.S. and European news reports.
The blast, apparently set off by a suicide bomber, occurred in the international arrivals area near baggage claim at approximately 4:32 p.m. local time Monday, Jan. 24, according to Russian news agencies.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev appeared on television, saying he is introducing a “special regime at all airports, at stations connecting to all airports and all major transit hubs.” He has tasked the ministers of transport and the interior to help with the investigation without delay so that security can be enhanced. He also is forming a task force to look into who is responsible “while the trail is still warm.”
Medvedev has launched a special investigation to find out if there were security lapses at the airport. Some local media are reporting that Russian security agencies had intelligence that an attack was imminent.
Domodedovo was closed for a relatively short time; CNN quoted an airport spokeswoman as saying it was only closed for 20 minutes after the bombing. Domodedovo processes more passenger traffic than the other two Moscow-area airports—Sheremetyevo and Vnukovo—where a handful of flights were diverted after the blast.
The airport handles about 45.5% of Moscow’s air passengers, and traffic in 2010 was estimated to total about 22.4 million passengers, according to the website.
After previous terrorist attacks in Russia in August 2004, authorities tightened security measures at ports of entry, and new security equipment was installed at the entrances of airports. However, airport security reportedly did not consistently require passengers to pass through that equipment.