Moscow Metro Bombings

With a pair of powerful blasts on Moscow subway cars that killed at least 38 people Monday, two female suicide bombers shattered Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's claim to have contained a separatist insurgency in Russia's southwest and forced the nation's capital to brace for a terrorist comeback after several years of calm.

The explosions occurred about 45 minutes apart at downtown stations during the morning rush hour. They followed triumphant reports in recent weeks that Russian security forces had killed several top leaders of the Islamist rebel movement, which seeks to establish a fundamentalist state in the North Caucasus region.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who cemented his power in 1999 by launching a war to crush Chechen separatism, broke off a trip to Siberia, declaring "terrorists will be destroyed".

Witnesses described panic at two central Moscow stations after the blasts, with morning commuters falling over each other in dense smoke and dust as they tried to escape the worst attack on the Russian capital in six years.

At least 72 others were injured, many gravely, and officials said the death toll could rise. Russia's top security official said the bombs were filled with bolts and iron rods.

At least 38 people were killed and more than 60 injured in two suicide bomb attacks on the Moscow Metro during the morning rush hour, officials say.

Female suicide bombers are believed to have carried out the attacks on trains that had stopped at two stations in the heart of the Russian capital.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for being behind the attacks.

But Russian security services believe the bombers are linked to militant groups in the North Caucasus region.

The 2010 Moscow Metro bombings were suicide bombings carried out by two women during the morning rush hour of March 29, 2010, at two stations of the Moscow Metro (Lubyanka and Park Kultury), with roughly 40 minutes interval between. At least 40 people were killed, and over 100 injured.

Russian officials called the incident "the deadliest and most sophisticated terrorist attack in the Russian capital in six years", a reference to the Avtozavodskaya and Rizhskaya bombings in 2004. At the time of the attacks, an estimated 500,000 people were commuting through Moscow's metro system.

Initial investigation indicated that the bombings were perpetrated by the Islamist Chechen separatists of the Caucasus Emirate. On March 31, Chechen rebel leader Doku Umarov confirmed suspicions when he claimed responsibility for ordering the attacks in a video released on the internet. He added that such attacks in Russia would continue. The man who brought the suicide bombers to Moscow was arrested in July 2010. The Anti-Terror Committee of Russia confirmed in August 2010 that Magomedali Vagabov, along with four other militants, was killed in an operation in Dagestan. He is believed to be a militant behind the bombings, a close associate of Doku Umarov and the husband of Mariam Sharipova, one of the two suicide bombers.