04/07/2017, 16.45
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St Petersburg metro bomber an “average” guy, perhaps an unwitting suicide bomber

Naturalised Russian in 2011, he disappeared in 2015. There are no signs of religious fanaticism on his social network pages, which stop in 2014. People who knew him are in shock; he was just like everybody else. Investigators found IED-related items in his flat. The search for accomplices continues.

Moscow (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Investigators are coming up with a clearer picture of Akbarzhon Jalilov, the Kyrgyz-born attacker who killed 14 people on Monday in the St Petersburg metro.

Although a lot of information about him has not yet been substantiated, what is emerging is the picture of a young man who only recently became a religious fanatic. Indeed, Russian anti-terrorism authorities knew nothing of his radical tendencies.

Naturalised Russian in 2011, he had worked at a sushi bar until 2015 when he dropped off the grid, the Gazeta.ru news site reported. Authorities are now investigating possible ties to the Islamic State group.

Jalilov’s social network pages show no obvious links to radical Islamism, but his last entry on VKontakte (VK) dates back to 2014.

Parents, friends, colleagues and neighbours describe him as “average,” “intelligent,” “a sportsman” and someone who “didn’t pray.”

On Tuesday evening, Jalilov’s relatives – who arrived in St Petersburg – refused to talk to the media. His mother shook her head in an apparent negative answer when asked if she believed her son was involved in the explosion.

The Jalilov family was “quiet and friendly,” Osh district official Anvardjon Dadabaev told RIA Novosti. “I met his mother . . . This family is not deeply religious, more secular,” he added.

A month before the blast, Jalilov rented a flat in the north-eastern district of St. Petersburg, some 20km from the scene of the attack after he returned from a trip to his home city of Osh in southern Kyrgyzstan.

Investigators found items in the flat that were similar to the improvised explosive device (IED) parts used in the unexploded device planted at the Ploshchad Vosstaniya station.

A spokeswoman for the Russian Investigative Committee added that both the IED and the items found in the suspect’s flat were sent for analysis, adding that “final conclusions concerning this matter would be made only on the basis of the results of the analysis.”

Witnesses present during the search said they saw household containers with an unidentified powder inside as well as “various powders in jars.”

Meanwhile, investigators are still looking for accomplices. They said they had identified several people of central Asian origin who had been in touch with Jalilov, and had detained three suspects.

According to an anonymous source, it is possible his accomplices remotely detonated the bomb with a mobile phone, adding that Jalilov “perhaps did not expect to die”, but thought he would place the bombs and get away.

“His recent behaviour and the fact that he was radicalised only recently do not fit the profile of a suicide bomber. It takes time and work to prepare one.”

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