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11 Dead in Belarus Metro Blast

At least eleven people are dead and 100 others are wounded following an explosion in a main subway station in Belarus.
By Chana Ya'ar
First Publish: 4/11/2011, 9:32 PM / Last Update: 4/11/2011, 11:10 PM

At least 11 people are dead and 100 others are wounded following an explosion in a main subway station in Belarus, according to the state news agency Belta.

The blast occurred in the Oktyabrskaya subway station during the evening rush hour in the capital city of Minsk. Two of the city's largest subway lines intersect at the station, which was crowded with passengers transferring from one line to the other.

The station, which is located in the center of Minsk, is situated next to the office of President Aleksandr Lukashenko as well as other government offices. Exits from the station lead to Lukashenko's office and to his residence, as well as to the offices of the country's Security Council.

An Associated Press reporter at the scene was told by eyewitnesses the explosion detonated as passengers were disembarking from a train at approximately 6:00 pm local time, just after most people had ended their work day.

Local journalist Aleksandr Vasiliyev told The New York Times that witnesses told him the blast occurred in the station and was caused by a bomb filled with nuts, bolts and other types of shrapnel. Authorities did not confirm the information.

However, the official Interfax news agency quoted a security source that said the explosion was most probably due to an act of terror.

In January, 37 people died in a suicide bombing at Moscow's Domodedovo airport. A year earlier, on March 29, 2010, 40 people were killed and dozens more were wounded when two female suicide bombers attacked the Moscow metro during morning rush hour. In July 2008, some 50 people were wounded by shrapnel when a bomb exploded at an open-air concert in MInsk attended by Lukashenko.

No one had claimed responsibility for Monday's blast by evening, and officials have been careful not to speculate on any possible cause of the explosion.