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Terrorist Spotted in Sochi

About 40,000 law enforcement and special services officers have been deployed to Sochi.

Published: January 22, 2014 (Issue # 1794)



  • A screen grab from a video showing two men claiming responsibility for the Volgograd bombings last month.
    Photo: AP

MOSCOW After an Islamic extremist group promised to deliver a deadly present to visitors of the upcoming Sochi Winter Olympics, law enforcement authorities said a potential suicide bomber had traveled to Sochi from Dagestan.

Ruzana Ibragimova, also known as Salima, is reportedly the widow of a neutralized member of the insurgency who can be used by its leaders to organize terrorist acts during the 2014 Winter Games as a suicide bomber, according to the local news site Blogsochi.ru.

Security has been one of the primary concerns surrounding the games, with the opening ceremony to be held on Feb. 7 a mere 600 kilometers from the republic of Dagestan, considered by experts as the most dangerous place in Europe.

Alexander Valov, the head of Blogsochi.ru, said by phone from Sochi that the information was leaked to him by three different sources, two from law enforcement officials and one from Sochis city hall.

A representative of the Krasnodar regional Federal Security Service branch could neither confirm nor deny the information.

According to Valovs source in the FSB, the suspect had already been spotted on Sovetskaya Ulitsa in central Sochi, which is in the vicinity of the Foreign Affairs Ministrys Sochi office and Sochi city hall.

It was unclear whether Ibragimova was carrying any explosives with her. It was also not immediately clear how a suspected terrorist who was apparently interrogated by law enforcement officials in the past could get into Russias Olympic capital amid heightened security.

Valov published a copy of an official letter sent by the local FSB to the Krasnodar Anti-Extremism Center, asking them to chase the suspect, who arrived in Sochi on Jan. 10 to 11. The letter describes Ibragimova as someone who limps slightly, her elbow does not bend and she has a 10-centimeter long scar on her left cheek.

Valov said police were trying to keep the information under wraps.

The police are afraid of causing panic by making this information public, Valov said, before being interrupted by an Investigative Committee representative who had arrived to present him with an official summons for questioning.

Valov went on after the investigator left: Some people said that this might be another anti-terrorist drill, but the documents are real and describe real people.

A journalist working for a major Western newspaper said that he had also seen a notice about Ibragimova at the reception desk of a Sochi hotel. According to Valov, the same document was sent out to all checkpoints guarding the Olympic security zone of Sochi.

The news comes after a video posted Sunday, on the website of the radical group Vilayat Dagestan, showing two men claiming responsibility for the Volgograd bombings last month and promising to deliver more acts of terror during the Olympics.

Vilayat Dagestan represents the Dagestan province of the Caucasus Emirate, a self-proclaimed entity that aims to establish a strict Islamic state in Russias North Caucasus. The organization, which seeks to include Sochi within the proposed Vilayat Cherkessia province, is headed by Doku Umarov, an Islamist militant who has been repeatedly declared dead by Caucasus authorities only to reappear time and time again.

President Vladimir Putin said Sunday that about 40,000 law enforcement and special services officers had been deployed to provide security in the Sochi area.

Putin told six Russian and foreign journalists that: We are doing everything with an understanding, with a clear understanding of the operational situation developing around Sochi and in the region as a whole; we have a perfect understanding of what it is, what the threat is, how to stop it, how to combat it.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Aug. 22


Get ready to pledge allegiance to the flag during National Flag Day, paying tribute to when, 23 years ago today, the iconic hammer-and-sickle was replaced with the tricolor that now flutters in the wind. Petersburgers will be treated to a free concert on Palace Square, a military parade and a culminating air show featuring Russias Russian Knights stunt pilots.



Saturday, Aug. 23


Uppsala Park plays host to Fairy Noon today, a performance of five separate fairy tales ranging from folk classics to more haunting selections. There will be three different renditions of the tales throughout the day and tickets start at 500 rubles ($13.80) for adults and 300 rubles ($8.30) for children.


Classic Finnish cartoon characters the Moomins expect to receive a warm welcome from Russian fans during todays Moomin Festival at the Pearl Plaza Shopping Center at 51 Petergofskoye Shosse. Become a kid again or introduce a new generation to the beloved creation of Finnish writer Tove Jansson.



Sunday, Aug. 24


The tortured genius of Dutch master Vincent van Gogh gets his day in the centers Konnushnaya Ploschad during Make Art Like Van Gogh, a daylong celebration of the artist that will allow amateur artists to try and replicate the work that made the famed painter world-renowned.


Experience a variety of dances highlighting the diversity of the world around as at the final day of the Ethno-Dance International Dance Festival that has been at the St. Petersburg Humanitarian University of Trade Unions this past week. Tonights performance will feature Egyptian dancers accompanied by local orchestras.



Monday, Aug. 25


Today kicks off the Elena Obraztsovoy International Competition for Young Vocalists in the large hall of the Shostakovich Philharmonic. Talented youngsters will showcase their range over the next six days before a winner is chosen on Aug. 30.



Tuesday, Aug. 26


Love movies but hate all those words? Then check out Rodina Cinema Centers Factor of Consensus film forum this evening. Silent movie classics from the beginning of the 20th century will be screened and accompanied by a pianist, who will provide the soundtrack for the ongoing action. The screenings begin at 7 p.m. Check Rodinas website for more details.



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