At least seven dead in Belarus metro blast

An explosion tore through a key subway station in the Belarusian capital of Minsk during evening rush hour today, killing at least seven people and wounding 35, the official state news agency said





An Associated Press reporter at the scene saw heavily wounded people being carried out of the Oktyabrskaya subway station, including one person with missing legs.



Several witnesses told The Associated Press that the explosion hit just as passengers were stepping off a train about 6pm. The Oktyabrskaya station, where Minsk's two subway lines intersect, was crowded with transferring passengers at the end of the work day.



The station is within 100 metres of the residence of authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko and the Palace of the Republic, a concert hall often used for government ceremonies.



There was no immediate indication of whether the blast was an accident or a terrorist attack.



The state news agency Belta said preliminary figures showed seven dead and 35 injured. It did not cite a source for the figures. An official from the presidential administration confirmed that there were some deaths, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.



One witness, Alexei Kiklevich, said at least part of the station's ceiling collapsed after the explosion.



Igor Tumash, 52, said he was getting off a train when "there was a large flash, an explosion and heavy smoke. I fell on my knees and crawled ... bodies were piled on each other."



He said he saw a man with a severed leg and rushed to help him.



"But then I saw he was dead," Tumash said, starting to cry.



Political tensions have been rising in Belarus since December, when a massive demonstration against a disputed presidential election sparked a harsh crackdown by police in which more than 700 people were arrested, including seven presidential candidates.



Lukashenko, who was declared the overwhelming winner of the disputed December 19 election, has run Belarus, a former Soviet republic, with an iron fist since 1994. However, Belarus' beleaguered opposition has been largely peaceful for years, with only a few clashes with police.



In July 2008, a bomb blast at a concert attended by Lukashenko injured about 50 people in Minsk. No arrests in the case were reported.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Trainee / Graduate Helpdesk Analyst

£20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly reputable business is looking to rec...

Recruitment Genius: Estimator

£28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is a major supplier of buil...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer

£28000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Ashdown Group: Application Support Engineer with SQL skills

£28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly reputable business is looking to rec...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas