Moscow, Nov. 29 (ANI): As Russia is coming to terms with Friday's train derailment that killed at least 26 people, including several top government officials, Moscow has confirmed that the event was a terrorist act caused by a powerful bomb.
Among the dead were several senior Kremlin bureaucrats, including Boris Yevstratikov, the head of Russia's Federal Reserve Agency, and Lyudmila Mukhina, a deputy head in the Federal Fishing Agency. A former St Petersburg senator, Sergei Tarasov, also died.
On Saturday, two huge cranes lifted up wreckage at the crash site as workers searched for the missing. At least 18 people were still unaccounted for. Nearly 100 people injured in the crash were being treated in hospitals.
The head of Russia's FSB counter-terrorism agency, Alexander Bortnikov, said the bomb, hidden on the railway line between Moscow and St Petersburg, contained the equivalent of 7kg (15.4lb) of TNT. Officers had found "elements of an explosive device."
So far, investigators have not said who they believe planted the homemade bomb. In the days before the crash villagers reported seeing a suspicious individual.
"As far as theories go ... our main version is that this was an explosion of an unknown device, by unknown individuals. Put simply, it was an act of terror," The Guardian quoted Vladimir Yakunin, Russia's railways minister, as saying.
There were speculations that the explosion could be the start of a new campaign by Chechen extremists.
Yakunin said the incident was "analogous" to another derailment on the same line three years ago, also involving the Nevsky Express, in which 19 people were injured.
There seems little doubt that the Kremlin will point the finger of blame at Islamist insurgents currently waging a guerrilla campaign across the north Caucasus.
Rebel fighters have carried out numerous attacks in recent months, including suicide bombings, in their apparent attempt to establish an Islamic caliphate. (ANI)