Volgograd suicide attacks `linked`; Russia steps up security ahead of Sochi Games
Zee Media Bureau/Supriya Jha
Moscow: A day after the horrific attack at a railway station in Russia`s Volgograd, another blast was reported to have taken place on a trolleybus in the city on Monday, killing 14 people.
The two attacks might be linked, said the country`s Investigated Committee, citing that the explosives used in both the blasts were identical.
Like yesterday`s railway station blast, this blast too, is thought to be a terrorist attack, added the Investigative committee.
The blast took place in the early morning rush hour in a busy market area. Video footages posted online showed that the bus was completely destroyed in the blast with its roof blown away.
Reports quoted the National Anti-Terror Committee as saying that today`s blast was caused by a bomb planted under a seat in the trolleybus.
Russia`s Investigative Committee called the blast an act of terror, adding that a male suicide bomber was behind the blast.
"It is now possible to preliminarily say that the explosive device was set off by a suicide bomber - a man whose body fragments have been collected and sent for genetic testing," said Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin.
A criminal probe into the blast has been started by the commitee which suspected that the two attacks in Volgograd over two days "are linked" as both attacks used similar explosives.
"This confirms the theory that the two attacks are linked. It is possible that they were prepared in the same place," Markin added.
Meanwhile, the death toll in yesterday`s suicide attack at a railway station in the same city climbed to 17.
It was the second blast in two days in Volgograd and a total of 31 were killed in the two attacks.
The attacks have fuelled fresh concerns about safety of Winter Olympics at Sochi with the spectre of terrorism looming large.
The attacks that come just weeks before the crucial Winter Olympics at Sochi, which is scheduled in February, have posed a serious question mark on the security risks near the Games venue that is situated just 700 kms off the volatile North Caucasus region.
Although, Russia has already put in place a formidable security system in wake of the Games, President Vladimir Putin has ordered the security to be beefed up at all the railway stations and airports across the country after yesterday`s attack.
The attack at the railway station, that is said to have been carried out by a female suicide bomber – called as Black Widows in Russia – was captured on a CCTV camera and took place at the main entrance of the station near the metal detectors.
The bombing is being treated as an act of terrorism,Vladimir Markin, a spokesman for the Investigative Committee said.
"Most likely, the victims could have been much higher if the so-called protective system had not stopped the suicide bomber from getting through the metal detectors into the waiting room where there were passengers," Mr Markin said in a statement posted on Investigative Committee`s website.
A severed head of a female, thought to be the perpetrator of the suicide attack, will help in identifying the bomber, reports said.
Before Volgograd attack, another suicide bombing in the southern Russian city of Pyatigorsk last week had killed three people.
Also in October, Volgograd had witnessed a bus suicide attack which had killed six people.
Even that attack was carried by a `Black Widow`, a female bomber who wanted to avenge the death of her husband.
The attacks are seen as the manifestation of the threat delivered by a Chechen rebel leader Doku Umarov, who in July this year had condemned Russia for hosting Sochi Games, which he called as a “Satanic Dance”.
He had vowed to stop the Games from proceeding in Sochi, pledging attacks against civilian targets.
He instructed his followers “to use maximum force on the path of Allah to disrupt this Satanic dancing.”
"They plan to hold the Olympics on the bones of our ancestors, on the bones of many, many dead Muslims, buried on the territory of our land on the Black Sea," Umarov had said in a video.
Sochi Olympics is Putin`s ambitious project and he has gone out of his way to mute the chorus of international criticism against Russia`s dismal rights record by releasing his major opponents like oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Pussy Riot band girls and Greepeace activists.
However, it seems that the threat of Islamic terror attacks outweighs the cacophony of international criticism and poses a graver risk to the Games.
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