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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

Wednesday, Sept. 3


Although the Peter and Paul Fortress sand sculptures are more central and therefore more visible to the throngs of tourists, the 300th Anniversary Park of St. Petersburgs own collection closes today. The World Collection of Sand Sculptures that have been on display at the park reaches its final day, so fans of the classic beach activity should get there while they can.



Thursday, Sept. 4


Vladimir I. Danchenkov, Head of Baltic Customs, will be in attendance during AmChams Customs and Transportation Committee Meeting convening this afternoon at the organizations office near St. Isaacs Square at 3 p.m.



Friday, Sept. 5


Scrabble lovers and chess masters get their chance to assert their intellectual dominance at the return of the British Book Centers Board Game Evenings tonight. Held weekly on Friday nights, the event gives both board game lovers and those hoping to improve their English the chance to meet, greet and compete. Check out the centers VK page for more details.



Saturday, Sept. 6


Athletes will relish the chance to get the latest gear and try out something new at I Choose Sport, an annual event at Lenexpo forum that plans to welcome more than 30,000 people this week to the international exhibition center. Not only will visitors get to try their hand at various athletic endeavors but they will also be able to peruse equipment that can fulfill their dreams of becoming a champion.


Local KHL team SKA St. Petersburg open their season this evening at home against Lokomotiv Yarovslavl at the Ice Palace arena next to the Prospekt Bolshevikov metro station. See their website for a full schedule and available tickets.



Sunday, Sept. 7


Check out retro and antique cars at Fort Konstantin on Kronstadt Island in the Gulf of Finland at FORTuna, a yearly car festival that highlights the eccentricities of the Soviet automobile industry. A car race, contests and a stunt show will give visitors a chance to rev their engines.



Monday, Sept. 8


This evening marks the opening of the two-week ballet festival High Season at the Mikhailovsky Theater. Check the theaters website for more details about performances and featured dancers.



Tuesday, Sept. 9


Discuss the latest news and issues at the AmCham Hazardous Waste Management Roundtable this morning in the Tango Conference Hall of the Sokos Hotel Palace Bridge on Birzhevoy Pereulok. Starting at 9 a.m., planned topics include the Krasny Bor landfill and waste transportation between Russia and Finland.


Learn more about the citys modern architectural trends at the SPIBA Real Estate and Construction Committees meeting on the topic Contemporary Petersburg Style: What is It? Participants will get the chance to discuss whats in-demand with RBI Holdings Irina Petrova and Lubava Pryanikova, and the current state of the local real estate market. Please confirm your attendance by Sept. 5 through SPIBAs website if you wish to attend.



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