Kyrgyz migrant blamed for Russian bombing 

Kyrgyz migrant blamed for Russian bombing 

The key suspect in Monday’s bombing on the St Petersburg underground was born in the former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan (pictured), according to the Bishkek intelligence agencies.

The Russian authorities put the death toll at 14 and said 49 people were still in hospital.

The Kyrgyz state committee for national security said Akbarzhon Jalilov, 22, was believed to be the suicide attacker and that it was cooperating with Russia.

A second bomb left at another station did not detonate and was reportedly defused.

Jalilov had lived in Russia for six years but was an ethnic Uzbek originally from Osh in southern Kyrgyzstan. There are hundreds of thousands of Central Asians in Russia, who often work on construction sites in poor conditions, sending remittances home. The recent Russian economic downturn has badly affected Russia’s migrant communities.

Reuters reported from Osh that Jalilov was an ethnic Uzbek and his parents but had not seen him for years. They said his father was a panel-beater in vehicle repairs.

Isis has recruited numerous personnel from Central Asia and from Chechnya in the North Caucasus.

Osh, the second-largest Kyrgyz city, saw inter-ethnic clashes between Uzbeks and Kyrgyz in June 2010, in which hundreds died.

Home to large numbers of Uzbeks, the city was the power base of ex-president Kurmanbek Bakiyev, who was overthrown in April 2010.

Osh in the Ferghana Valley is shared with Uzbekistan and Tajikistan and known as a breeding ground for extremism in Central Asia.

Russia suffered several militant Islamist attacks from groups in the North Caucasus, including bombings of the Moscow metro in 2010. But a suicide bombing of Domodedovo airport in January 2011 was the last major attack outside the North Caucasus region before this week.

Since President Vladimir Putin entered the war in Syria in September 2015, so-called Islamic State has named Russia as a target. In October 2015, a plane travelling from Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt to St Petersburg crashed after a bomb appeared to explode. Islamic State claimed responsibility.

Russia has warned of the danger of attacks on its soil in reprisal for its military intervention in Syria, where Moscow’s forces have been supporting troops loyal to embattled President Bashar al-Assad.

Moscow’s foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said it was cynical to say Monday’s bombing was a reprisal for Russia’s role in Syria, according to Russia’s news agency RIA Novosti. He said the attack showed that importance of Russia fight against global terrorism.

Picture credit: Wikimedia

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