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Monday 19 March 2018

Fears for Olympics as 'terrorist' hunted

Russian President Vladimir Putin poses and waves with Sochi Winter Olympics 2014 volunteers
Russian President Vladimir Putin poses and waves with Sochi Winter Olympics 2014 volunteers

Roland Oliphant

RUSSIAN security forces are searching Sochi for a suspected terrorist who is feared to be planning to target the Winter Olympic Games, according to a notice distributed throughout the city.

The poster, displayed in hotels in the area, says that the FSB, Russia's internal security service, has received information that Ruzanna Ibragimova, the widow of an insurgent killed by security forces, may have travelled from Dagestan to the Sochi area on January 11 or 12.

"According to our information, Ms Ibragimova may be used by the ring-leaders of illegal armed groups for the organisation of terrorist acts in the zone of the 2014 Olympics," the notice said.

The widows of fighters killed in the conflict between Islamist separatists and Russian forces in the North Caucasus have been used in the past as suicide bombers.

Russia has deployed 40,000 police and security personnel around Sochi to deter attacks by Islamist militants from the nearby North Caucasus republics.

The notice for Ms Ibragimova (22) is the first sign that terrorists may have managed to penetrate the cordon.

The security alert comes as a previously unknown group claimed responsibility for the suicide bombings that killed 34 people in Volgograd, 400 miles from Sochi, in December. A Dagestani jihadist website posted on Sunday what it claims is a video made by the Volgograd bombers before their "diversionary attacks".

In the video, two young men identified only as Suleiman and Abdurakhman list a string of grievances against Russia. It is the first time any group has claimed responsibility for the blasts at Volgograd railway station on December 29, and which destroyed a bus on December 30.

A statement on the website says the attacks were carried out by a group called Ansar Al-Sunna and said that the blasts were "only the beginning" of a campaign that would include chemical weapons. (©Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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