Author`s name Michael Simpson

Explosions at Concert: Details of Tragedy Occurred Week Ago

Experts say, the number of victims might have been higher
A correspondent of Russia's newspaper Kommersant attempted to restore the scenario according to which suicide bombers committed an act of terrorism last Saturday at a concert in Tushino, Moscow. On July 5, the square in front of the Tushinskaya metro station and an adjoining sector of Volokolamskoye Shosse were crowded with youth who gathered for a concert of popular rock stars held on the Tushino aerodrome that day. Hundreds of policemen and special service officers came to the place to maintain order during the concert where the audience was expected to make up 50,000 people.

Policemen established order in accordance with a traditional scheme: they cordoned the crowd off for several groups and prohibited sale of alcohol drinks on the whole territory adjoining the aerodrome where the concert was to take place. To get to the concert people had to stand in two long lines: the first one - to get tickets to the concert and then was a line going to the ground where the concert was held. Policemen checked tickets, withdrew bottles with alcohol drinks and searched people with metal detectors.

Zulikhan Elikhadzhiyeva, a 20-year-old Chechen from the settlement of Kurchaloi (she was identified by her passport found at the incident site), bought a ticket to the concert and joined the second line. Policemen say that one of the girl's brothers is on a wanted list for terrorism; the other was killed in a battle with federal troops half a year ago. This fact probably pushed the girl to join Chechen terrorists hiding in the mountains where she completed a special course of training. Then she moved to Georgia and came to Moscow by plane on July 4.
 
Zulikhan easily passed the check points where policemen checked tickets and searched people for alcohol drinks. She was standing ten meters from the metal detector. Student Alexey from the city of Balashikha in the Moscow region, the eyewitness of the tragedy tells: "The girl was dressed in a strange manner. It was very hot, but she had a shawl and a jacket on; at the same time her skirt was light and transparent. She got very nervous when she reached the metal detector: she seized her mobile phone and started speaking in some unknown language. Then the girl took out something resembling an icon or a book and muttered something in her native language. A policeman started searching the strange girl; he led her out of the crowd, and in the thick of the mess an explosion sounded."
 
A bomb made of explosive gelatin that the girl had in her belt bag almost failed to detonate. A specialist for explosives explains that one kilogram of plastit with which the bomb was stuffed is a considerable amount. It would have killed all living creatures in the radius of 50 meters if it had been detonated correctly, the specialist says.
 
The expert told the Kommersant correspondent that belts that suicide bombers used were just ordinary belt bags stuffed with plastit (substance looking like plasticine) mixed with bearing balls, small screws and split nails. The belt bag of the suicide bomber was supplied with an electric detonator wired with a battery; the electric circuit was enclosed with two bared wires which the girl held in a hand.
 
The main problem of the suicide bomber was that one kilogram of plastit and two kilograms of bearing balls are rather bulky; it is necessary to attach it to the body so that the bomb couldn't be seen from under the clothes. That is why when belt bombs are on they are mashed up so that they coincide with the lines of the body. The expert suggests that probably when the suicide bomber and the accomplices mashed the bomb up, the detonator shifted and was then joined to a piece of plastit of about 30-50 gram. The basic charge was separated from the detonation point with a layer of bearing balls. As a result, it was just the detonator and the small part of the explosive that detonated. The rest of the explosive remained intact. The exploded amount of plastit was enough only to fatally wound the suicide bomber herself.
 
According to some sources, the policeman who detained the girl was also wounded; it was reported that the police sergeant had a pine fracture. However, the police press-service officially reports that no policemen suffered as a result of the terrorist act. Doctors and policemen who were on duty during the concert immediately rushed to the site of the explosion. Meanwhile, policemen say that a man who controlled the act of terrorism and with whom the girl talked over the phone before the explosion was somewhere nearby. Unfortunately, policemen failed to identify and detain the man.

The interval between two explosions, 10 minutes, was quite enough to cover the distance of 400-500 meters from the crowd where the explosion sounded to the booking-office (policemen say that the man who controlled the explosions withdrew from the incident site in this direction). Experts suppose that the man wanted to take some position to be seen by the second suicide bomber who stood in a line to get a ticket and to give her the signal. The terrorists discussed their actions over mobile phones (a Siemens mobile phone was found near the dead body of the first suicide bomber). Immediately after the first explosion special services disconnected mobile phones of all people present at the concert.

There was no need to block the radio signal, as the second bomb was activated by immediately the terrorist herself. There are just few eyewitnesses of the second explosion: almost all people who stood in a line to the booking-office were killed with the explosion.
 
Experts say that out of one kilogram of plastit in the belt bomb of the second suicide bomber at least 500 gram detonated. Probably, the second girl was informed that the first suicide bomber wasn't a success with her bomb, and she decided to detonate her bomb immediately. A blast wave and bearing balls with the diameter of 5-8 millimeter destroyed everything in the radius of 10 meters. As people were standing close to each other in the line, 11 people died tragically right at the site. 

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