A blast has ripped through a busy shopping centre in the Russian city of St Petersburg, injuring as many as 10 post-Christmas shoppers.
The Investigative Committee, Russia’s top policing agency, said an improvised explosive device, equivalent to 200 grams of TNT, exploded at the Perekrestok supermarket on the ground floor of the popular Gigant Hall shopping complex.
“The device was filled with projectiles,” it said.
The bomb was reportedly placed inside a locker room for shoppers’ bags.
Alexander Klaus, chief of the local branch of the Investigative Committee, was quoted by the AP as saying that 10 people were hospitalised with injuries.
Local media said the injuries were of “varying severity”.
The complex is a destination for people taking advantage of the traditional pre-New Year shopping period.
No one has claimed responsibility for the bombing.
The blast comes little more than a week after Russian authorities foiled a plot to stage a series of bombings throughout St Petersburg over the Christmas period.
An official from the Emergencies Ministry was quoted by TASS news agency as saying: “There was a bang. Emergency personnel are already on the scene.
“The evacuation has been completed, and there was no fire.”
The company that operates the supermarket released a statement to the Sputnik news agency saying all shoppers and staff had been evacuated from the site.
”At the moment the store is closed, shoppers and staff have been evacuated,” it said.
“Special services are working at the scene.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin telephoned US President Donald Trump earlier this month to thank him for a CIA tip that helped thwart a series of planned bombings in St Petersburg.
The Kremlin said the arrested suspects had planned to bomb St Petersburg’s Kazan Cathedral and other crowded sites.
In April, a suicide bombing in St Petersburg’s subway left 16 people dead and wounded more than 50.
– With agencies