Second blast in Russia's Volgograd kills 14 on trolleybus

Second blast in Russia's Volgograd kills 14 on trolleybus

Putin orders increased security nationwide after bombings

MOSCOW - Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday ordered law enforcement agencies to increase security in the southern city of Volgograd and nationwide after two deadly bombings in Volgograd, the Kremlin said.

Putin issued several instructions to a committee that coordinates counterterrorism efforts "to strengthen security Russia-wide and specifically in the Volgograd region," the Kremlin said. It did not describe the instructions.

* Trolleybus bombing follows Sunday's railway station attack

* Bombings underscore Russia's vulnerability ahead of Sochi Games

* Explosion guts bus, leaves bodies in street

* More attacks can be expected, says anti-terrorism veteran

VOLGOGRAD, Russia - A bomb blast ripped a trolleybus apart in Volgograd on Monday, killing 14 people in the second deadly attack in the southern city in two days and raising fears of further violence as Russia prepares to host the Winter Olympics.

The morning rush-hour bombing, which left mangled bodies in the street, underscored Russia's vulnerability to militant attacks less than six weeks before the Sochi 2014 Games, a prestige project for President Vladimir Putin.

Sunday's blast came less than 24 hours after a suicide bomb blast killed at least 17 people in the main railway station in the same city, a major transport hub in southern Russia.

A Reuters journalist saw the blue-and-white trolleybus reduced to a twisted, gutted carcass, its roof blown off and bodies and debris strewn across the street. Federal investigators called the blast a "terrorist act". "For the second day, we are dying. It's a nightmare," a woman near the scene said, her voice trembling as she choked back tears. "What are we supposed to do, just walk now?"

The consecutive attacks will raise fears of a concerted campaign of violence before the Olympics, which start on Feb. 7 in Sochi, about 430 miles (690 km) southwest of Volgograd.

In a video posted on the web in July, the leader of insurgents who want to carve an Islamic state out of the North Caucasus, a string of Muslim provinces south of Volgograd, urged militants to use "maximum force" to prevent the games from being held. "Terrorists in Volgograd aim to terrorise others around the world, making them stay away from the Sochi Olympics," said Dmitry Trenin, an analyst with the Moscow Carnegie Centre.

A female suicide bomber from the North Caucasus killed seven people on a bus in Volgograd in October.

A spokeswoman for the International Olympic Committee in Lausanne, Switzerland, said: "Our condolences go to all those affected by today's bombing in Volgograd. Unfortunately, terrorism is a global phenomenon and no region is exempt, which is why security at the Games is a top priority for the IOC. At the Olympics, security is the responsibility of the local authorities, and we have no doubt that the Russian authorities will be up to the task."

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