by Tony Iozzo
Impunity Watch Reporter, Europe
SOCHI, Russia – Russian authorities are searching for a woman they believe to be planning to carry out a suicide bombing at the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.
Ruzanna Ibragimova, a 23-year-old native of Dagestan in the North Caucasus region, is thought to be the widow of an Islamic militant. She is deemed a “black widow”, as she is attempting to avenge her husband’s death through an attack. Ibragimova is believed to have traveled to Sochi earlier this month, somehow managing to penetrate strict security at the site of the Games. Two other females also allegedly planning to carry out suicide bombings are wanted in Sochi.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is conducting one of the largest security operations in the history of the Olympics, as over 30,000 police and Russian ministry troops have been deployed to the area. Authorities have severely limited access to Sochi by the public. Wanted posters with the images of the suspected suicide bomb-plotters have been put up in the area.
The Russian government considers Islamist militants from Dagestan and the nearby republics of Ingushetia and Chechnya to be a major security threats to the Sochi Games. Security fears have been increased after two suicide bomb attacks killed 34 people in the southern city of Volgograd back on December 29th and 30th.
Several countries’ Olympic associations have been sent email threats regarding specific athletes; however most have been dismissed as not credible by the International Olympic Committee. The IOC stated that the emails seemed to be “a random message from a member of the public,” and did not pose a threat, but also stated that they would be taken very seriously.
British Olympic Association officials stated that they “receive correspondence of every type and it is not uncommon to come across something like this that lacks credibility. It is extremely important in matters such as this that everyone maintains a level head and a sensible perspective,” stated spokesman Darryl Seibel.
U.S. President Barack Obama offered America’s “full assistance” in making the Olympics “safe and secure” in a telephone conversation with the Kremlin on Tuesday, the White House stated. Two U.S. warships will be on standby in the Black Sea upon commencement of the Games on February 7th. The U.S. has also offered to supply Russia with hi-tech equipment to help detect improvised explosives.
For more information, please see:
BBC News – Russia Hunts Suspected Female Sochi Suicide Bomber – 22 January 2014
The Independent – Race to Find Sochi “Bomber” Casts Chill Over Winter Olympics – 22 January 2014
Mirror News – The “Black Widow” Suicide Bomber Thought to be in Hiding in Winter Olympic Games City of Sochi – 22 January 2014
ABC News – Urgent Search for “Black Widow” Suicide Bomber, May Already be in Sochi – 20 January 2014