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Vladimir Putin says St Petersburg supermarket explosion was 'an act of terror'

13 people were injured in the blast.

Police stand at the entrance of a supermarket, after an explosion in St Petersburg
Police stand at the entrance of a supermarket, after an explosion in St Petersburg
Image: Dmitri Lovetsky via PA Images

RUSSIAN PRESIDENT VLADIMIR Putin has called an explosion that tore through a Saint Petersburg supermarket, wounding 13 people, “an act of terror”.

“As you know, an act of terror took place in Saint Petersburg yesterday,” he said at a meeting of military officers in the Kremlin.

The homemade bomb went off in a locker at the supermarket yesterday evening, officials said.

Anna Mityanina, vice governor of Saint Petersburg, which is Russia’s second city, said on Twitter that of the 13 wounded eight remained in hospital care.

Five people declined to be hospitalised, she added.

The explosion occurred at around 6.45pm (3.45pm Irish time) as Russians geared up to celebrate the New Year – the country’s biggest holiday – followed by Russian Orthodox Christmas, which falls on 7 January.

Officials earlier said 10 people had been injured, saying the bomb had the power equivalent to 200 grams of TNT.

In a sign of the severity of the situation, the case was overseen by Russia’s National Anti-Terror Committee even though authorities initially opened a probe into attempted murder.

The committee said the explosion went off after “a criminal placed an unidentified explosive device in a storage locker”.

The blast comes after a suicide bombing killed 15 people and wounded dozens on the Saint Petersburg metro in April.

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That bombing was claimed by a group linked to Al-Qaeda which said it was a message to countries engaged in war with Muslims, a veiled reference to Russia’s military campaign in Syria.

Earlier this month Russia’s FSB security service said it had arrested members of the Islamic State group who had planned to blow up the Kazan Cathedral, one of Saint Petersburg’s most famous landmarks, among other crowded places.

The Kremlin has said that those attacks were prevented thanks to intelligence provided by America’s Central Intelligence Agency.

Saint Petersburg, Russia’s former Imperial capital, will host World Cup matches next year.

© AFP 2017

Read: Ten injured in Al-Qaeda bombing of St Petersburg supermarket

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