Train Bombing Perpetrator Identified, Killed in Raid

Wreck site of the Nevsky Express. Source: AP/Ivan SekretarevThe Russian Federal Security Service is saying that it has identified the perpetrator of a train bombing late last year that killed 26 people traveling from St. Petersburg to Moscow, RIA Novosti reports.

In an address to Russian President Dmitri Medvedev on Saturday, FSB Chief Aleksandr Bortnikov said that genetic and material evidence indicates that notorious Caucasian gang leader Sheikh Said Buryatsky took part in the November 2009 bombing of the Nevsky Express.

After investigators established that Buryatsky’s group was likely involved in the attack, the FSB conducted a raid in the Ingush village of Ekazhevo on March 2 – 3, in which eight militants were killed and ten were detained. Buryatsky, whose real name is Aleksandr Tikhomirov, was among those killed, reportedly having put up armed resistance to the police.

A search of the militants’ basement laboratory turned up more than a ton of explosives, as well as firearms and ammunition, Bortnikov added.

The bombing of the Nevsky Express, which federal authorities labeled as an act of terrorism, killed 26 passengers and injured approximately 90 on the luxury train. Chechen rebel leader Doku Umarov had originally taken responsibility for the bombing.

Russia’s railroad directorate and manufacturers of the railway cars on the Nevsky Express have come under criticism for their flimsily constructed seats, many of which came loose during the explosion and flew down to the end of the cars, trapping and maiming passengers. While both parties have refuted the claims, the cars on the Nevsky Express have been changed nevertheless.

Public transportation in Russia has been targeted by Chechen separatists for a number of years. Sixty people were injured in an analogous attack on the Nevsky Express in August 2007. Fifteen people were injured in the 2005 bombing of a train headed to Moscow from Chechnya, and a suicide attack in the Moscow metro killed 41 and injured approximately 120 in 2004.