Author`s name Olga Savka

Bomb Attacks: Eyewitnesses Speak

The first explosion killed only the terrorist

As a result of the act of terrorism at the Moscow rock festival  Krylya (Wings) on Saturday, 11 people were killed and 60 were wounded. Thirty-eight people are still hospitalized. On Monday, Russian newspapers published the details of the terrorist act, as seen by eyewitnesses.

The Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper wrote, when the first suicide terrorist blew up her bomb, there were about 200 people around her. However, only the detonator worked, the explosive remained intact. Eyewitnesses said, explosion was like a strong flap  - some people even took it for fireworks, someone shouted "Hurray!" A short break was announced on the stage - musicians were coming a little late. People started worrying when cellular phones started ringing one after another. "Everything is fine, there were no explosions, I did not see or hear anything," those were typical answers.  Viewers asked policemen about explosions, but they said that they had not heard or seen anything either. The majority of viewers did not know anything until 5 p.m.

The suicide bomber has already been identified: Zulikhan Elikhajiyeva, 20 years old from Kurchaloy, Chechnya. The Kommersant newspaper wrote, she purchased a ticket and passed the ticket and alcohol control. About ten meters were left to a metal detector. Student Aleksey from the town of Balashikha was standing behind the Chechen terrorist: "There were a lot of girls in the line. But I paid my attention to that one, because she had a very nice figure. I noticed that she was wearing strange clothes. It was very hot that day, but she was wearing a long skirt, a kerchief and a jacket. She was very troubled as she was approaching the control post: at first she grabbed her cell phone, she started talking in her native language, then she took something like an icon or a book and started murmuring something again in her language. A police officer did not like something about the girl. He took her by the elbow and asked her to go out of the line, and the bomb blew up.”

"According to eyewitnesses, the blast tossed the terrorist on the asphalt road. The girl remained conscious for several minutes, she was gazing at police officers around her. From what she was saying, officers understood that she was asking them to step aside. She said that she had failed to execute her goal, so she would not be able to go to Allah. She died in several minutes," the Kommersant wrote.

Investigators think, the organizer of the terrorist act (he was neither detained nor identified) was walking along the opposite side of the street towards the box-office, where the explosion took place. A senior police officer said: "The two explosions happened with the interval of ten minutes. This is exactly the time that is needed to walk those 400-500 meters slowly. We believe that the person in charge had to see the second suicide bomber in the line of people to give her a signal."

Police officers believe that the terrorists communicated over cellular phones - fragments of one of them were found near Zulikhan Elikhajiyeva's body. Special telephone communication vehicles arrived at the site of the incident very soon after the explosion. Police officers said that operators had blocked all cell phones in the area not to let people panic. If a crowd of thousands of people had rushed to the exist, there would have been hundreds of victims. According to another opinion, the radio interception was used not to let terrorists use remote controls that they might have had for the bombs.

There is not much information about the second explosion, though, because the blast killed everyone around the bomber. An ER doctor said: "At the moment of the explosion we were close to the airdrome entrance, trying to stop Elikhajiyeva from bleeding, although we knew that it was pointless. All of a sudden I heard a strange sound - it did not sound like an explosion, it was like a gong sound. I looked around and saw a column of fire rising up very high. We rushed over there immediately. At first I saw a man lying on the ground, crying for help. I thought that we would save him, but then I saw his big wound in the neck, the blood was pouring out of his body. He died very quickly."

A lot of dead bodies were scattered on the ground chaotically. There was a mess of bodies, shoes, bags, clothes, but there was almost no blood, in difference to other acts of terrorism. Red-hot metal balls cauterized blood vessels, as they ran into human bodies.

Anastasiya Fofonova, 17-year-old junior student of the pedagogical college did not go to see the rock show, although she was a rock music fan: "I decided to earn a little money, me and my friend were giving flyers away to people, who wanted to come to the festival. It was hot, the line of people was very long, and I was walking from one end of the line to another. I heard a loud flap nearby, but I did not understand what happened. In about 15 minutes an explosion took place somewhere near me. When I recovered, I found myself lying on the ground. I saw a girl with a severed leg near me, then I saw other people all covered with blood, someone was moving, someone was not. Then I felt terrible pain. Doctors told me that I had my hand and shank injured."

Marina, a salesgirl from a kiosk, located 15 meters far from the entrance to the airdrome: "That horrible day had a very good start from the commercial point of view. We had a lot of customers, young people, basically. They were all buying up beer and other soft drinks, we ran out of stock in mere hours. It was about 3 p.m. I had nothing to do, so I was simply watching people coming and coming. I ran out of the kiosk and smelled the acrid smell. I could see people covered with blood on the ground near me. A lot of people ran out into the Volokolamsk highway. Police officers blocked the traffic on the road. I could not understand what was going on. I was questioned by the police several times – they were trying to find out  if I saw how the explosion happened. There were too many people, I could not see anything.

Pavel, rock music fan: "We came to Tushino at 2:30 p.m., we wanted to buy something to eat, but then changed our mind and stood in the line to buy tickets. The line was too slow. Then I heard the explosion, everyone saw the fire and black smoke. People started running around. Everyone was shocked, I saw a woman sitting next to another one, trying to make her stand up. At first we thought that it was just a joke or something, but when we saw the smoke and fire and realized that it was a tragedy."