Islamic extremists in southern Russia are increasingly using suicide bombers, and the government’s offensive against radicals in the North Caucasus has led to an increase in civilian casualties, a report showed.
Sochi may attract the fewest American visitors to a Winter Olympics in 20 years amid terrorism concerns, a lack of luxury hotel rooms and difficulties procuring visas, according to U.S. tour operators.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said 40,000 police and special services officers have been deployed to ensure security at the 2014 Winter Olympics as Islamic militants renewed threats to strike the games in Sochi.
Doku Umarov, a militant who claimed responsibility for attacks in Russia and threatened to target the Winter Olympics in Sochi, was “eliminated” during an anti- terror operation, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov said.
Suicide bombers at a train station and on a trolleybus killed more than 30 people within 24 hours in the southern city of Volgograd, raising the security threat less than six weeks before Russia hosts the Winter Olympics.
Russia will avoid turning Sochi into a “concentration camp” even as it takes extra precautions to counter threats of terrorist attacks during next year’s Winter Olympics, the Federal Security Service said.
The Chechen leader Russian President Vladimir Putin picked to snuff out Islamic extremism has a motto he shares with visitors via a billboard of himself at Grozny airport: “Happiness is serving the people.”
A suspected female suicide bomber killed six people on a bus in the Russian city of Volgograd in what would be one of the biggest terror attacks in the country since a blast at Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport in 2011.