An explosion tore through a key subway station in the Belarusian capital of Minsk during evening rush hour today killing 11 people and wounding 126. An official said the blast was a terrorist act. "I do not rule out that this gift could have been brought from outside," President Alexander Lukashenko said. The authoritarian leader, under strong pressure from the West over his suppression of the opposition, has frequently alleged outside forces seek to destabilize his regime.
Several witnesses said that the explosion hit the crowded Oktyabrskaya station just as passengers were stepping off a train about 6pm. Lukashenko visited the site about two hours after the blast and left without comment. He later ordered that the country's feared police to "call in all forces and turn everything inside-out" to investigate. Health Minister Vasily Zharko said 11 people were killed and 126 people were wounded, 22 severely. One man said he was getting off a train when "there was a large flash, an explosion and heavy smoke. I fell on my knees and crawled ... bodies were piled on each other." He said he saw a man with a severed leg and rushed to help him. "But then I saw he was dead." (Read more Belarus stories.)