IS says it was behind Saint Petersburg supermarket bombing
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IS says it was behind Saint Petersburg supermarket bombing

Group claims explosion in Russian shop that wounded 14 people

Firefighters and police officers work at the site of a blast in a supermarket in St. Petersburg on December 27, 2017. (AFP PHOTO / Olga MALTSEVA)
Firefighters and police officers work at the site of a blast in a supermarket in St. Petersburg on December 27, 2017. (AFP PHOTO / Olga MALTSEVA)

The Islamic State terror group claimed responsibility on Friday for a bomb attack Wednesday that tore through a Saint Petersburg supermarket and wounded 14 people.

“The attack that targeted a shopping center in Saint Petersburg the day before yesterday was carried out by an Islamic State-linked group,” IS said in a statement via its propaganda agency Amaq.

The homemade bomb went off in a locker at the supermarket on Wednesday evening, officials said.

Anna Mityanina, vice governor of Saint Petersburg, which is Russia’s second city, said on Twitter that of the wounded, eight remained in hospital care. Five people declined to be hospitalized, she added.

An investigator photographs the scene of an explosion at a supermarket in St. Petersburg, Russia, Thursday, Dec. 28, 2017 (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)

The explosion occurred at around 6:45 p.m. local time as Russians geared up to celebrate the New Year — the country’s biggest holiday — followed by Russian Orthodox Christmas, which falls on January 7.

Officials said the bomb had the power equivalent to 200 grams of TNT.

In a sign of the severity of the situation, the case was overseen by Russia’s National Anti-Terror Committee even though authorities initially opened a probe into attempted murder.

The blast comes after a suicide bombing killed 15 people and wounded dozens on the Saint Petersburg metro in April.

That bombing was claimed by a group linked to al-Qaeda which said it was a message to countries engaged in war with Muslims, a veiled reference to Russia’s military campaign in Syria.

Earlier this month Russia’s FSB security service said it had arrested members of the Islamic State group who had planned to blow up the Kazan Cathedral, one of Saint Petersburg’s most famous landmarks, among other crowded places.

The Kremlin has said that those attacks were prevented thanks to intelligence provided by America’s Central Intelligence Agency.

Saint Petersburg, Russia’s former Imperial capital, will host World Cup matches next year.

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