Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Suspect Identified in Tolyatti Blast

ReutersSome 300 students lighting candles in Tolyatti on Thursday to commemorate the eight people killed in a bus explosion. Investigators said that they had identified a bomb suspect after finding aluminum wire and nails similar to those left in victims' bodies
Investigative Committee head Alexander Bastrykin said Thursday that a suspect had been identified in the Wednesday explosion that killed eight people and injured more than 50 in Tolyatti.

"On the basis of preliminary results, we have found a person connected to the bombing," Bastrykin told journalists in Tolyatti on Thursday.

Bastrykin would not provide the name or any other information about the suspect, or even say whether the suspect was killed in the blast.

He said investigators were questioning people who knew the suspect in a search for possible motives behind the attack.

An unidentified person close to the probe said the suspect was a young man who was killed in the blast, but was not a student, Interfax reported. Only one of the eight people killed, Yevgeny Vakhrushev, 21, matches this description.

Vakhrushev's body was the most difficult to identify as a result of the blast, and his remains were the last to be identified, Interfax reported.

The probe by the Investigative Committee, a semiautonomous body under the auspices of the Prosecutor General's Office, is focusing on Criminal Code sections concerning terrorism, murder and the illegal transportation of explosives. Interfax reported.

Bastrykin said a search of the suspect's apartment had turned up "aluminum wire and small nails" like those found in the bodies of the victims.

Wednesday news reports did not mention wire or nails, relatively common household articles, in relation to the bomb. An unidentified source from a Samara region law enforcement agency said Thursday that the bomb contained metal balls, nuts and bolts, RIA-Novosti reported.

Bastrykin also said Thursday that the type of explosive used in the bomb had yet to be identified, saying only that the Tolyatti bomb resembled the one detonated in Moscow's Cherkizovsky market in August 2006, killing 11.

Eight ultranationalist activists, including the chemistry student accused of assembling the bomb, are charged with bombing the market as a racist attack on dark-skinned immigrants who worked there.

If this was such a homemade bomb, it points toward the involvement of nationalist or leftist extremists, said Irina Borogan, a security analyst with the investigative web site.

"Terrorists related to networks in the North Caucasus insurgency or local bandits fighting turf wars have access to regular explosives and would not bother with self-made stuff," she said.

Homemade bombs were also used by left-wing extremists in Moscow to destroy a memorial plaque to the family of Tsar Nicholas II in 1997 and in an attack on the entrance of the Federal Security Services' office in 1999. No one was injured in either of those blasts. In both cases, the attackers said they learned how to make the bombs from the Internet.

Over 200 people, mostly local students, gathered for a memorial ceremony at the site of the blast Thursday, news agencies said.

Samara Governor Vladimir Artyakov said Thursday that the regional government would pay 300,000 rubles ($12,000) to the families of those killed in the blast, and from 100,000 to 200,000 rubles to the wounded, depending upon the severity of their injuries.

Funerals for the victims will be held Friday, he said.

n The eight men accused of the 2006 Cherkizovsky market bombing are asking for a jury trial, said Alexei Popov, a lawyer for one of the defendants, RIA-Novosti reported Thursday.

Popov said the Moscow District Military Court would soon begin hearing the case.