MOSCOW — Explosions near a busy Moscow subway station in a shopping district Tuesday night killed six people and injured at least 20. The Itar-TASS news agency said authorities blamed a woman homicide bomber.
Initial reports said a single car blew up, but witnesses said they heard at least two explosions. The blast struck about 8:15 p.m. in an area between the Rizhskaya station (^) and a nearby supermarket-department store complex.
Scores of emergency and police vehicles rushed to the scene, and police cordoned off the area around the blackened car that apparently exploded between the station and the store.
Police spokesman Valery Gribakin said on Russian television that six people were killed and more than 20 wounded.
"There was a powerful blast and then a smaller one. I thought my roof would come off," said 30-year-old Sergei Pyslaru, who was driving nearby when the explosion occurred.
Police and emergency officials could not immediately be reached by The Associated Press for comment, but Russian news agencies cited Russian officials as saying eight people died and 18 were injured, as many as 12 of them seriously.
Alexei Borodin, 29, was out walking with his mother when he heard "a very powerful bang. Something flew past my head, I don't know what it was."
"There were people lying in the square," he said. "There were pieces of bodies...We were walking through pieces of people."
Borodin said he saw "about five people" who were too badly hurt to get up. "One young guy tried to get up and couldn't."
The blast came a week after two Russian passenger jets crashed minutes apart after explosions on board, killing all 90 people aboard in what authorities say was a Chechen (^) terrorist attack.
Suicide bombings blamed on Chechen rebels and their supporters have hit Moscow and other parts of Russia over the past several years.
In February, 41 people were killed in a rush-hour explosion on the Moscow subway that officials said was a terrorist attack. In December a female suicide bomber blew herself up outside a hotel adjacent to Red Square (^), killing five people and herself.
Chechens voted on Sunday for a new president in the warring republic in an election that was backed by the Kremlin and intended to show stability. The election was part of the Kremlin's strategy for trying to undermine support for the separatist insurgents who have been fighting Russian forces on and off for more than a decade.
Criminal underworld feuds in Russia also frequently become violent and have included car bombings in which bystanders have been killed and injured.