Russian terror attacks could be chilling prelude to Olympic violence
A pair of suicide bombings that left 31 dead in Russia could be a chilling tune-up for the Olympic Games, where a Muslim terrorist leader has vowed to put Chechnya’s long-standing grievance with Moscow in the international spotlight, according to terrorism experts.
Although no one has claimed responsibility for the twin bombings, which occurred less than 24 hours apart in the city of Volgograd, formerly known as Stalingrad, terror experts strongly suspect they were inspired, if not ordered, by Chechen Muslim rebel leader Doku Umarov. Umarov, who calls himself the emir of the terror group the Caucasus Emirate, has called on Muslims to attack civilians and to prevent the Olympics from occurring.
The games, scheduled to begin in six weeks in Sochi, the Black Sea resort about 400 miles southwest of Volgograd, are “Satanic dancing on the bones of our ancestors,” Umarov said in a video released online in July.
“No Olympics in recent memory will commence as inauspiciously at the 2014 Sochi Games,” Hoffman told FoxNews.com. “Although fear of terrorist attack has been a staple of Olympics security for the past four decades, the back-to-back blasts yesterday and today, coupled with another attack in the same city in October, are likely intended to be the opening salvos in a sustained terrorist campaign.
“This would be unprecedented in Olympic history and likely reflects the perpetrators’ intention to disrupt the games even before the opening ceremony,” Hoffman added.
In the first attack, a bomber authorities believe may have been a woman detonated explosives in front of a metal detector just outside a train station entrance Sunday as a suspicious police sergeant approached to check the bomber’s ID. The officer was one of 17 killed by the blast. Hours later, early Monday, a suicide bomber on a bus killed at least 14 people and left nearly 30 wounded, Russian officials said. The bombs were similar, according to Vladimir Markin, the spokesman for Russia’s main investigative agency.
“That confirms the investigators’ version that the two terror attacks were linked,” Markin said in a statement. “They could have been prepared in one place.”
Following the most recent attack in Volgograd, Russian news outlet Lifenews.ru, posted what it claimed was an image of the severed head of the female attacker. The report said the woman’s two successive rebel husbands had been killed by Russian security forces in the Caucasus. Female suicide bombers, often widows or sisters of slain rebels, have mounted numerous attacks in Russia and are commonly referred to as “black widows.”
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(Photo: Police and medics work at the site of a bomb blast on a bus in Volgograd Dec. 30, the second suicide bombing in less than 24 hours. (Reuters))