A suicide bombing has killed at least 15 people and injured over 40 in the southern Russian city of Volgograd, raising concerns about terrorism just over a month before Russia hosts the 2014 Winter Olympic Games.
A female bomber carried out the blast in a Volgograd train station, 400 miles from the site of the upcoming Olympics in the Russian resort town of Sochi, Russian authorities said. The Sochi 2014 Olympic Games are scheduled to begin on Feb. 7.
A total of 33 people were hospitalized, with eight in serious condition and one in “extremely serious condition,” Oleg Solagai, a spokesman for the Russian health ministry, told Russian news agency Rossiya24.
Authorities in Volgograd said the attack left 27 people seriously injured, and that the death toll may increase. A police officer was among the dead, and a nine-year-old girl was injured, authorities said.
A severed head found at the site of the bombing is suspected to be that of the woman who carried out the attack, making it “possible to identify her,” a Volgograd law enforcement source told the Russian news agency Interfax. Investigators have reason to believe the woman came from Russia’s Dagestan region, the source told the agency.
Azamat Suleymanov, an officer at the Interior Ministry of Dagestan, said they are fairly certain of the identity of the bomber.
“For legal reasons we cannot yet say that we are 100 percent sure, but we are almost confident that it was Oksana Aslanova, a Dagestani citizen,” he said. “We have her on file. She was a widow whose husband died in a special operation conducted by our forces. She was then married a few times more, always to terrorists.”
The bombing took place in the same city where another female suicide bomber was blamed for an attack an October bus attack that killed seven people, including the bomber.