Armenian Police Identify Chief Suspect In Yerevan Bus Blast


d236af_a7eae6a075454e15b6581833023f55ecYEREVAN (RFE/RL) — Armenian authorities said on April 26 that they have identified the main suspect in a bus explosion in Yerevan that killed two people.

Armenia’s Investigative Committee said a SIM card found at the scene of the April 25 blast belonged to an Armenian who had served time in prison and that they found explosives and detonators at his home in a search.

They did not name the suspect and his whereabouts are unknown, but officials said it is possible the suspect was one of the two people killed in the blast.

Identification of one of the bodies, which is said to have been disfigured beyond recognition, is now under way using DNA analysis.

Meanwhile, Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan has ordered police to tighten security after the massive blast in Yerevan, which killed two passengers and wounded seven others.

Armenia’s Emergency Situations Ministry said the explosion occurred at nearly 10 p.m. local time on April 25 on Halabian Street, a residential area near the city center.

National police chief Vladimir Gasparian said earlier that the blast occurred on or under a second-row bus seat and that investigators were trying to identify a passenger thought to have been sitting there.

Meanwhile, investigators have “fully rejected” the possibility that the explosion was a terrorist act and said the suspect had a “grudge” against his relatives and may have been transporting the explosive device when it detonated.

An AFP correspondent at the scene reported that the bus was gutted by the blast, which blew out the windows of nearby houses.

In a statement on the incident issued shortly after midnight, Sargsyan’s press secretary, Vladimir Hakobian, said the Health Ministry was “taking necessary measures to provide medical assistance to the wounded persons,” it added. “We call on the public to refrain from spreading unverified information.”

Two of the passengers, boys aged 14 and 15, suffered particularly serious wounds and underwent surgery in a Yerevan hospital. Doctors there said their lives were not at risk.