U.S. Issues Travel Warning Amid New Sochi Terror Threats
Published: January 13, 2014 (Issue # 1792)
The U.S. State Department has issued a travel alert for Americans traveling to Sochi for the Winter Olympics and Paralympics as security threats continue to emerge in southern Russia, which is set to host the Games next month.
Over the weekend, police defused two handmade bombs in the North Caucasus republic of Kabardino-Balkaria, Interfax reported.
They discovered one in the regional center of Nalchik on Saturday, in a counterterrorism operation where five suspected members of an international terror group were detained, and the other one on Sunday in a car near a town of Tyrniauz, 90 kilometers west of Nalchik.
On Friday, six suspected terrorists were detained in the southern Stavropol region of Pyatigorsk, which allowed security forces to prevent a terrorist attack, the National Anti-Terrorism Committee said, without specifying where and when the attack had been planned.
On Wednesday and Thursday, police found six bodies with gunshot wounds and the same number of explosive devices planted in cars throughout the region of Stavropol, in what appeared to be a trap for law enforcement, Kommersant reported.
The discovery was followed by an announcement from FBI Director James Corney on Thursday that the U.S. will send two dozen FBI agents to Moscow, and another dozen to Sochi to help with security during the Olympics. The games run from Feb. 7 through March 15.
Despite the security boost, however, the State Department stressed on its website on Friday that personal security still depends very much on individual "good judgement and discretion."
U.S. citizens should "remain vigilant … when using any form of public transportation" in Sochi, located in the Krasnodar region, which borders the volatile North Caucasus federal district, the State Department said.
U.S. citizens are also highly recommended to subscribe to the government's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program in order to receive updates about security threats in the region through e-mail, or check regularly with the Embassy's or the State Department's website.
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