2018 Karaliaučius Bombing
|2018 Karaliaučius Bombing|
|Part of Lithuanian separatist movement|
|Location||Karaliaučius, East Prussia, Lithuania, Poland-Lithuania|
5 July 2018 |
1:30 Karaliaučius Time (UTC+2)
|Target||Civilians in Triumph Square|
|Weapons||Improvised explosive device|
|Perpetrators||Knights of Mindaugas|
|Accused||Simas Ambraska, 7 others|
On 5 July, a bomb blast hit the city centre of Karaliaučius. It killed 24 people and injured at least 40 others. The attack occurred around 1:30 Karaliaučius Time, near the fountain in Triumph Square. Eyewitnesses reported a man dressed in a black coat fleeing the scene seconds before the bomb exploded. The man has been identified as Simas Ambraska, a member of the extremist group Knights of Mindaugas, who managed to escape without injury, but was arrested by Polish-Lithuanian authorities on the same day.
The blast killed 24 people and injured anywhere from 40-46, 31 of whom were hospitalized. Most of those killed had been standing close to the epicenter, at the fountain in the middle of the square. Among those killed was a 7-year old boy visiting the town centre with his grandmother. Emergency services were delayed for several minutes after police arrived, as it was feared there were other bombs in the vicinity.
The Karaliaučius bombing provoked an immediate international response. The mayor of Karaliaučius declared a week of mourning for the victims. The act has been deemed "brutal and extreme" by Polish-Lithuanian president Krzysztof Rześny. Outside the country, many social media users expressed their solidarity with the people of Karaliaučius, while some have blamed the government's policies. The Free Lithuania Party also condemned the attack, disavowing any connection with the perpetrators.
Simas Ambraska is the primary suspect. In August 2018, following a raid on a nationalist headquarters building in Lithuania, seven others were arrested for suspected involvement in the attack.