Seven arrested in St Petersburg bomb probe

Police in St Petersburg are on high alert following Monday's explosion that killed the attacker and 13 other people and injured a further 55. If it is confirmed that the metro attack was linked to radical Islamists, it could provoke anger among some Russians at Moscow's decision to intervene in Syria, a year before an election which President Vladimir Putin is expected to win.

IS, which has fighters from former Soviet Central Asia among its ranks, has repeatedly threatened to attack Russian Federation in revenge for Moscow's backing of Syrian leader Bashar al Assad. Jalilov's page on VKontake, a Russian social media website, has photographs showing him wearing stylish Western dress, in a restaurant with friends and smoking a hookah pipe.

Investigators were still checking their contacts, it added, but noted that as of now, "there is no information about any links between the detainees and the perpetrator of the terror attack". He worked at a auto fix shop and a sushi bar, and stayed in the city when his family returned home.

Islamic State, however, has struck at Russian Federation overseas, claiming a bomb attack in October 2015 that blew up a passenger jet packed with holidaymakers returning to St Petersburg from Egypt, killing all 224 people onboard.

His VKontakte page included links to a site featuring sayings from Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, an eighteenth century preacher on whose teaching Wahhabism, a conservative and hardline branch of Islam, is based. The bomber in that attack said he had been acting under the direction of IS militants in Syria.

Most directly, Monday's attack in St. Petersburg can be viewed as blowback from Russia's ongoing intervention in Syria. "Each of our nations is a potential target for terrorist attacks".

The Investigative Committee said in a statement on Wednesday that the men arrested came from former Soviet Central Asian republics. Many do menial, low-paid jobs; they are regularly stopped by police for document checks, and they often face racial discrimination.

There are hundreds of thousands of central Asian emigres living and working in Russian Federation.

Russia's Federal Security Agency says its experts defused a self-made explosive device at the apartment where the suspects lived.

A middle-aged man and woman were escorted away after the flight arrived. The second man said he was working as a cook in an Uzbek restaurant in central Moscow.

"We had just bought a flat near here in a lovely building, our daughters were doing well, and then this happened", husband Alexander Kaminsky told AFP.

  • Leroy Wright