A device is made safe as Russian police detain alleged contacts of the St Petersburg bomber three days after a suspected bomber on the city’s metro killed 13 people.
A city official revealed that several suspects were held when police raided the flat early on Thursday, Ria Novosti said.
Neighbours were moved away and witnesses said three men were led out in handcuffs, the news agency added.
The main suspect in the metro bombing, Akbarzhon Jalilov, died in the attack.
Aged 22 and from the Central Asian republic of Kyrgyzstan, his remains were identified by his parents on Wednesday. A DNA test also confirmed that he was the 14th person killed in the blast.
Russian investigators are examining tape, tin foil and some other suspicious items found at Jalilov’s St Petersburg flat.
Russia’s Investigative Committee (SK) says they appear similar to components found in a device left at Ploshchad Vosstaniya metro station on the day of the bombing.
The flat raided at around 05:00 local time (02:00 GMT) on Thursday was in Tovarishchesky Prospekt in the east of St Petersburg.
“An explosive device found in the flat has been made safe. Several suspects have been arrested; they didn’t resist and there’s now no threat to local people,” the head of the local authority Konstantin Serov was quoted as saying.
Sources told Interfax news agency that investigators were examining possible links between the three men and the alleged bomber. Witnesses said the three suspects were all from Central Asia.
Russia’s Investigative Committee (SK) made no reference to the arrests but said on Thursday they had established that “several citizens of Central Asian republics were in contact with Jalilov”.
Eight people from Central Asia were arrested in the city on Wednesday as part of the metro bomb investigation. The SK said they were held for allegedly recruiting for Islamist militant groups such as so-called Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra since 2015, and “committing crimes of a terrorist nature”.
The SK has named all 13 who died along with Jalilov on Monday afternoon after the train had left Sennaya Ploshchad station. About 50 injured are being treated in hospital.
Below are the names of those who lost their lives in the attack.
- Irina Medyantseva, 50, who died as she tried to shield her daughter from the explosion, according to reports in Russia. Her daughter Yelena, 29, was treated for her injuries in hospital and her condition was said to be stable
- Dinara Alieva, 20, from Azerbaijan, who was taken to hospital but later died from her injuries
- Maxim Aryshev, a 20-year-old Kazakh citizen and student at St Petersburg state university
- Yury Nalimov, 71
- Ksenia Malyukova, 18
- Angelina Svistunova, 27
- Oksana Danilenko, 15
- Larisa Shchekina, 66
- Denis Petrov, 25
- Mansur Sagadeev, 16 or 17
- Dmitry Mazanov, 27
- Yulia Krasikova, 25
- Maria Nevnerzhitskaya (age not yet confirmed)