Russian Islamic group claims twin bombings, threatens Sochi attacks
By Lynn Berry, AP
January 21, 2014, 12:09 am TWN
MOSCOW--An Islamic militant group in Russia's North Caucasus claimed responsibility Sunday for twin suicide bombings in the southern city of Volgograd last month and posted a video threatening to strike the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
There had been no previous claim of responsibility for the bombings, which killed 34 people and heightened security fears before next month's Winter Games.
In the video, two Russian-speaking men warned President Vladimir Putin that "If you hold these Olympics, we will give you a present for the innocent Muslim blood being spilled all around the world: In Afghanistan, in Somalia, in Syria."
They added that "for the tourists who come, there will be a present, too."
In a statement posted with the video on its website, the militant group Vilayat Dagestan claimed responsibility for the Volgograd bombings.
The video claims that the two men, identified as Suleiman and Abdurakhman, were the suicide bombers and purports to show the explosives being prepared and strapped to their bodies.
There was no immediate reaction to the video from the Russian security services.
During much of the 49-minute video, the two men speak to the camera while holding Kalashnikov automatic rifles. Behind them hang black banners with Arabic religious phrases similar to those used by al-Qaida.
Vilayat Dagestan is one of the groups that make up the so-called Caucasus Emirate, which seeks to establish an independent Islamic state in the North Caucasus, a region just to the east of Sochi on Russia's southern border.