At least 10 people are killed and more than 20 others hurt in a suspected suicide bombing in the Russian city of Volgograd, in what officials say is the second suicide attack there in less than two days.
The blast comes in less than 24 hours after 17 people died in another suicide attack at the central station in the city.
Security has been tightened at railway stations and airports across Russia.
Moscow is concerned militant groups could be ramping up violence in the run-up to the 2014 winter Olympic Games in the city of Sochi.
The Olympic venue is close to Russia’s volatile north Caucasus region.
Volgograd lies about 900 km south of Moscow, 650 km north of the North Caucasus and 700 km north-east of Sochi.
The latest explosion took place near a busy market in the city’s Dzerzhinsky district.
The latest explosion in Volgograd took place near a busy market in the city’s Dzerzhinsky district
Maksim Akhmetov, a Russian TV reporter who was at the scene of the blast, said the trolleybus was packed with people going to work in the morning rush hour.
He described the scene as “terrible”, adding that the bus was “ravaged” and that there were “bodies everywhere, blood on the snow”.
The explosion removed much of the bus’s exterior and broke windows in nearby buildings.
The figures given for the number of dead and injured are still fluctuating – and a one-year-old child is said to be among the victims.
A spokesman for Russia’s Investigative Committee said both explosions were now being treated as acts of terrorism.
Sunday’s blast rocked Volgograd-1 station at around 12:45 at a time of year when millions of Russians are travelling to celebrate the New Year.
A female suicide bomb attack on Volgograd’s train station has killed 15 people, Russian officials say.
Another suspected female suicide bomber killed at least six people when she attacked a bus in the city in October.
Moscow is concerned militant groups could be ramping up violence in the run up to the 2014 winter Olympic Games in Sochi in February.
An Islamist insurgency in the North Caucasus region has led to many attacks there in recent years. Insurgents have also attacked big Russian towns.
Volgograd lies about 900 km south of Moscow, 650 km north of the North Caucasus and 700 km north-east of Sochi.
President Vladimir Putin has ordered law enforcement agencies to take “all necessary security measures” in the bomb’s aftermath, said a Kremlin spokesman.
Vladimir Putin has ordered the most gravely injured victims to be flown to Moscow for treatment.
Security would be stepped up at train stations and airports, said a federal police spokesman.
Sunday’s explosion rocked Volgograd-1 station at around 12:45 at a time when millions of Russians are travelling to celebrate the New Year.
The bomb contained 10 kg (22 lbs) of TNT, was rigged with shrapnel and was detonated near the metal detectors at the station entrance, said a spokesman for the Investigative Committee.
“According to our information the explosion was carried out by a female suicide bomber who approached a metal detector, saw a policeman there, got nervous and detonated the bomb stuffed with pieces of shrapnel,” said the spokesman, Vladimir Markin.
A nearby security camera facing Volgograd’s train station caught the moment of the blast
He said the security presence had prevented a much higher death toll at the station, which was packed at the time of the blast as several trains were delayed.
No group has yet claimed responsibility for the blast, which Vladimir Markin said injured 34 people – eight critically – including a nine-year-old girl whose mother was killed in the attack.
RIA Novosti news agency said security sources were naming the attacker as Oksana Aslanova. She has reportedly been married twice to militants and is also suspected of being a friend of Naida Asiyalova, the suicide bomber who targeted the Volgograd bus in October.
However, the Interfax news agency said the suspect’s head had been found at the site – and, according to an unidentified security source, “it has been established that the suicide terrorist was a man who had brought explosives to the station in a rucksack”.
A nearby security camera facing the station caught the moment of the blast, showing a bright orange flash behind the station’s main doors.
The explosion shattered windows and sent debris and plumes of smoke from the station entrance.
Ambulances rushed the injured to hospital, while motionless bodies were laid out in the station forecourt.
The incident was being treated as an act of terrorism, Vladimir Markin said.
An amateur video has revealed how off-duty firefighter Matt Patterson came to the rescue of 7-year-old Jane Richard in the Boston Marathon terror attack which killed her 8-year-old brother Martin.
Matt Patterson wearing a red T-shirt is seen rushing to the aid of little Jane Richard, who lost a leg in the attack and remains hospitalized in a critical condition.
Jane Richard is seen sitting up and then lying in the middle of the road, moments after standing on the sidelines where she was photographed alongside her brother Martin.
The photograph reveals how Jane and Martin Richard were standing just yards from terror suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
Following the bomb attack others are filmed standing around stunned but Matt Patterson leaps into action.
Just before the explosion the firefighter had been enjoying a meal with his girlfriend in a nearby restaurant.
Matt Patterson wearing a red T-shirt is seen rushing to the aid of Jane Richard, who lost a leg in the Boston Marathon attack and remains hospitalized in a critical condition
“This child for some reason just jumped at me – it was tunnel vision,” Matt Patterson said.
“I could see the damage. I could see that she needed a tourniquet. She needed surgery, it was obvious from what I saw.”
“I go up to a business guy and ask for his belt, he hands it over without hesitation. I have to stop the bleeding. I am making the tourniquet and another man comes and I ask him to hold it for pressure. I’m looking up and down the street – looking for where I can bring the child to an ambulance or more care.”
Matt Patterson and the other man ran with Jane Richard to a waiting ambulance. The girl has lost a leg and remains in a critical condition in hospital but is expected to survive her injuries.
Yesterday it emerged Jane Richard is an enthusiastic Irish dancer having attended classes at the Clifden Academy of Irish Dance in Milton since the age of three.
Several Irish dance groups are now raising money to support her.
At least 21 people have been injured in an explosion on a bus in Tel Aviv, in what one Israeli official described as a “terrorist attack”.
After the incident, near a military headquarters, huge blasts were heard in Gaza – an apparent Israeli strike on the football stadium.
Eleven people were killed in Gaza on Wednesday, the health ministry said.
Efforts to broker a truce between the Hamas movement and Israel continue.
After eight days of exchanges of fire between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is now in Cairo for talks with the Egyptian president.
Earlier, Hillary Clinton and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon held talks in the West Bank with the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
Militants in Gaza have been firing more rockets at Israel.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s spokesman Ofir Gendelman said on his Twitter account that the explosion was caused by a bomb and that it was a “terrorist attack”.
Of the 21 injured, three were suffering from moderate to light injuries – including shrapnel wounds and burns – and were undergoing surgery, a spokesman for the Ichilov medical centre in Tel Aviv said.
Six had already been released and the rest were suffering from anxiety, he said.
The bus was reportedly passing the military headquarters in the city at the time of the blast.
Police believe a bomb was planted on the bus and they are still searching for a suspect.
At least 21 people have been injured in an explosion on a bus in Tel Aviv, in what one Israeli official described as a terrorist attack
Hamas, the Islamist movement which has governed Gaza since 2007, has praised the attack but has not said it was behind the blast.
Celebratory gunfire reportedly rang out in Gaza when local radio relayed news of the attack.
A series of massive explosions in Gaza, in an apparent Israeli strike on the sports stadium have been reported. Reports from Gaza say the stadium has in the past been used a site to launch rockets.
According to Israel’s ministry of foreign affairs, the last bomb attack in Tel Aviv was in April 2006, when a suicide bombing on a restaurant killed 11.
The bus blast comes on the eighth day of the current flare-up in violence between Israel and militants in Gaza.
Some 147 Palestinians and five Israelis have been killed.
Other sites hit in Gaza included a banker’s villa, tunnels to Egypt used by smugglers and a media office, said to be linked to Hamas, that was situated two floors above the Agence France-Presse office in Gaza City.
The IDF said 62 rockets fired by militants from Gaza had hit Israel so far on Wednesday, while another 20 were intercepted by its Iron Dome missile defence system.
The latest violence will further complicate ceasefire discussions taking place in the region.
The two international mediators are both expected to hold talks with Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi in Cairo.
In the West Bank, Ban Ki-moon expressed “profound concern” at the civilian casualties in Gaza and also called on militants to end immediately their “indiscriminate attacks on Israeli population centres”.
Hillary Clinton held talks with Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem before heading to Cairo.
Officials from Hamas had suggested on Tuesday that a truce would come into effect at midnight, but Israel later said it had not agreed to a text.
Israel’s demands include no hostile fire of any kind from Gaza and international efforts to prevent Hamas from re-arming, while Hamas is demanding an end to the blockade on Gaza and targeted killings by Israel.
Israel launched its current offensive a week ago with the killing of Hamas military leader Ahmed Jabari. The Israeli government says his assassination, and the subsequent offensive, is designed to end rocket fire from Gaza.
Israel has troops massed along the Gaza border but says it is holding off on a possible ground invasion as talks continue.
Syrian television reports that a bomb has exploded on the third floor of the state TV and radio building in the capital, Damascus.
Three people were reported wounded and the explosion caused some damage but state TV continued broadcasting.
Rebel forces took over several areas of Damascus in recent weeks, but the army has since regained control of the city.
More than 20,000 troops are now aiming to wrest control of the country’s second city, Aleppo, from the rebels.
A bomb has exploded on the third floor of Syrian state TV and radio building in the capital, Damascus
The explosion in Umawiyeen Square in central Damascus had “ripped the floor” but had left the transmission of the three Syrian channels unaffected.
Pro-government TV channel al-Ikhbariya showed pictures of staff looking after an injured colleague. In June, gunmen attacked its offices, south of Damascus, killing seven people, including journalists and security guards.
Information Minister Omran al-Zoabi told Syrian TV that national media had been targeted in the “desperate and cowardly” attack. An investigation was under way to find out who planted the bomb inside the building, he added.
State TV’s buildings have also been attacked in many provincial cities, most recently in Aleppo.
The army has surrounded Aleppo, Syria’s commercial capital, and tanks have tried to push into two key rebel-held areas, Salah al-Din and Saif al-Dawla, which lie on the main road into the city.
A rebel commander was one of nine people killed in Salah al-Din on Monday, according to British-based group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.