New Suspect in Deadly St. Petersburg Metro Bombing Detained and Questioned

This is the ninth person to have been detained on suspicion of having colluded with the bomber, Akbarzhon Jalilov

People leave a train passing a symbolic memorial at Technologicheskiy Institute subway station in St. Petersburg, Russia, April 5, 2017.
Dmitri Lovetsky/AP

Russian law enforcement officials are questioning a new suspect in connection to the bombing of a metro train in St Petersburg earlier this month, a source familiar with the investigation told Reuters on Monday.

Fourteen people were killed in the attack. The suspect is the ninth person to have been detained on suspicion of having colluded with the bomber, Akbarzhon Jalilov, since the attack. Jalilov was killed in the explosion. 

Russia's Federal Security Service, cited by RIA news agency, identified the detained man as Abror Azimov, born in 1990, from ex-Soviet Central Asia. The FSB described him in a statement as one of the organizers of the attack, who had trained Jalilov, RIA reported. 

Russian police believe that Jalilov developed an interest in Islam and soon after traveled to Turkey. Two people told Reuters they did not know for sure if the man, Akbarzhon Jalilov, went on from Turkey to neighboring Syria. Turkey has been routinely used by radical Islamists as a route into areas of Syria controlled by the Islamic State group.

If Jalilov had been in Syria, that would expose a major gap in Russia's counter-terrorism procedures, which rely heavily on identifying anyone who has been with militants in Syria and stopping them from returning to Russia, or arresting them.

The metro blast happened just as Russian President Vladimir Putin visited St Petersburg. No group has claimed responsibility. But Islamic State has threatened acts of violence on Russian soil in reprisal for the Kremlin's military intervention in Syria in support of President Bashar Assad.