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Moscow subway bombings: a brief global history of terrorist attacks on subways, trains

The Moscow subway bombings that killed at least 37 people Monday follows attacks on London, Madrid, Tokyo, and a recently foiled plot to detonate bombs on the New York City subway.

By Correspondent / March 29, 2010

Moscow subway bombings: Police officers and a few commuters stand on the nearly empty platform, quite uncommon for a Monday afternoon, alongside a subway train making a stop at the Park Kultury subway station that was earlier hit by an explosion, in Moscow, Monday.

Misha Japaridze/AP

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Moscow's subway bombings Monday underscores that, while you may not need to remove your shoes and belt to ride the metro or train, there's a history of terrorist attacks on ground transportation.

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Here's a short list of major attacks worldwide over the past decade:

  • March 20, 1995: Five men release the toxic gas sarin on several lines of the Tokyo Metro, ultimately killing 13, injuring 50, and causing temporary vision problems for nearly 1,000 others. Tokyo just marked the 15th anniversary of the subway gas attack.
  • Feb. 18, 2003: An arsonist sets fire to a subway train in Daegu, South Korea, killing nearly 200 and injuring at least 150 more. The perpetrator suffered from depression.
  • March 11, 2004: Madrid train bombings kill 191 people and wound 1,800. The Spanish government initially named the Basque separatist group Eta as the main suspect, but the attacks were later blamed on Al Qaeda-linked Islamic militants.
  • July 7, 2005: Four militants detonate four bombs in London's underground in protest of Britain’s support for the Iraq war, killing 52 people on a network that carries more than 3 million commuters daily. Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for the attacks, though an investigation found no direct Al Qaeda support.

American authorities foiled an attempt by Afghan-American Najibullah Zazi to bomb the New York City subway system shortly after the 2009 anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Moscow in particular has a bloody history of attacks on its transportation systems. Chechnya’s rebel separatists have repeatedly brought their fight to Moscow over the past two decades, a key reason they are suspect for Monday’s Moscow bombing.

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