President Serzh Sarkisian ordered the Armenian police to tighten security after an explosion on a bus reportedly killed two passengers and wounded seven others in Yerevan late on Monday.
Armenia’s Emergency Situations Ministry said the explosion occurred at nearly 10 p.m. local time on Halabian Street, a residential area near the city center.
The cause of the explosion was not immediately known. Asked whether the blast may have been caused by a bomb, a spokesman for the Armenian police told reporters: “It’s premature to speak of that.”
The national police chief, Vladimir Gasparian, did not rule out such a possibility when he spoke to journalists at the scene shortly afterwards. According to the Armenpress news agency, Gasparian said the blast occurred on or under a second-row bus seat. Police investigators are now trying to identify a passenger who possibly occupied that seat, he said.
In a statement on the incident issued shortly after midnight, President Serzh Sarkisian’s press secretary, Vladimir Hakobian, said law-enforcement officers and rescue teams are working at the scene of the blast. “The president of the republic is periodically briefed on the course of the works,” he said.
The statement said Sarkisian ordered the police to “step up security and patrol services” in the Armenian capital.
“The Ministry of Health is 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 urgent surgery in a Yerevan hospital. Doctors there said their life is not at risk.