A female suicide bomber has been blamed for an explosion at a train station in southern Russia which has killed at least 15 people.
A spokesman for the nation’s top investigative agency said the bomb appeared to have been detonated as the attacker approached a metal detector at the entrance to the central railway hub in the city of Volgograd.
The blast occurred at around 12.45pm local time (8.45am GMT) and footage from a nearby security camera, shown on the Rossiya 24 TV station, showed a fireball engulfing the station's main entrance hall. Other TV coverage from the scene showed bodies laid out next to ambulances on the forecourt outside.
While the Russian health ministry said around 50 people were wounded in the explosion, reports of the death toll varied. Vladimir Markin, speaking for the Investigative Committee, said 13 people and the bomber herself were killed immediately in the blast, and another died later in hospital.
The country's National Anti-Terrorism Committee issued a statement following the attack which said a female suicide bomber has been identified as the suspected attacker.
“We heard a loud bang from behind, saw a bright flash and fell on the floor,” Svetlana Demchenko, who witnessed the explosion, was quoted as saying by the ITAR-Tass news agency.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, which comes two months after another female suicide bomber blew up a bus in the same city, killing six and injuring around 30.
Officials said the attacker in that incident came from Dagestan, where Islamist insurgent activity has grown since the two separatist wars in Chechnya.
Today’s bombing also comes several months after the Chechen rebel leader Doku Umarov issued a warning of attacks on the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.
There are heightened concerns about terrorism ahead of February’s events in the Black Sea resort, some 600 miles south-west of Volgograd.