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St Petersburg supermarket blast was terror attack, Putin says

An explosion at a supermarket in Russia's second largest city was a terrorist attack, President Vladimir Putin has said.

At least 13 people were injured on Wednesday evening when an improvised explosive device went off at a storage area for customers' bags at the supermarket in St Petersburg.

Investigators said the device contained 200g of explosives and was rigged with shrapnel to cause more damage.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Mr Putin made his comments at an awards ceremony at the Kremlin for troops who took part in Russia's Syria campaign but did not offer any details. He also said another terrorist attack had been thwarted in St Petersburg.

Mr Putin has portrayed Russia's operation in Syria as a pre-emptive strike against terrorism at home. He said the threat of attacks at home would have been much worse if Russia had not intervened in Syria.

"What would have happened if those thousands (of terrorists) that I have just spoken about, hundreds of them had come back to us, trained and armed," he said.

Earlier this month, Mr Putin phoned President Donald Trump to thank him for a CIA tip-off that helped thwart a series of bombings in St Petersburg.

The Federal Security Service said seven suspects linked to the Islamic State group were arrested in connection to the alleged plot. The Kremlin said the suspects had planned to bomb Kazan Cathedral and other crowded sites.

In April, a suicide bombing in St Petersburg's subway left 16 people dead and wounded more than 50. Russian authorities identified the bomber as a 22-year old Kyrgyz-born Russian national.

AP

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