Saturday 17 March 2018

New clue holds key to 'black widow'

Andrew Osborn in Moscow

ONE OF the 'black widow' suicide attackers who struck the Moscow metro on Monday may have been caught on camera minutes after the first bomber had blown herself up.

Footage shot on a mobile phone at the Lubyanka metro station shows a woman in the crowd, whose face bears a striking resemblance to an image of the second bomber's bloodied head that was released by the Russian authorities.

Dressed in a heavy dark coat, the woman is seen turning away in a trance-like state from a metal barrier manned by several policemen. About 40 minutes later, the second suicide attack took place at the Park Kultury metro station.

The footage was released as President Dmitry Medvedev made a surprise visit to the restive Russian republic of Dagestan, which was the scene of a double suicide bombing on Wednesday. Twelve people, including nine police officers, were killed.

Mr Medvedev's visit was intended to reassure worried Russians that the Kremlin was doing all it could to hunt down Islamist terrorists operating in the North Caucasus, along Russia's southern flank.


"Quite a lot has been achieved in fighting terrorism lately," Mr Medvedev said. "We will track them down and. . . deal sharp dagger blows to the terrorists."

Alexander Bortnikov, head of the FSB security service, told Mr Medvedev that investigators knew the identity of the organisers of both terrorist attacks and were questioning a number of people.

There were also signs that Russian special forces were stepping up counter-terrorism operations in Chechnya, Ingushetia and Dagestan.

Their priority is to capture or kill Doku Umarov, the Chechen extremist leader who has claimed responsibility for the Moscow attack.

Investigators say radical Islamists, including a dead terrorist known as 'Russia's Bin Laden', recruited many of the bombers over the internet.

They believe the two women who struck the Moscow metro travelled to the Russian capital in a shuttle bus, for which security and identity checks are lax.

Many of those killed in the bombings were buried yesterday. Their ages ranged from a girl of 17 to a woman of 64.

Yesterday, two suspected bombers died when their car, which is thought to have been packed with explosives, blew up in western Dagestan. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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