Monday, 20 January 2014

Terror attacks raise Russia's security ahead of Sochi Olympic Games

Russian security officials in Sochi are searching for a woman suspected of plotting to carry out a suicide bombing, who was spotted in the city January 19, unnamed law enforcement sources said, BlogSochi reported...Russian authorities remain on alert following multiple successful and partially-successful terror attacks in the south of the country ahead of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics beginning February 7...More than 1,500 violent events have occurred in the Caucasus region since January 2010, the majority targeting law enforcement and occurring within 500 miles of the Olympic Games in areas such as Dagestan, Ingushetia, Kabardino-Balkaria and Chechnya...While responsibility has not been claimed for either the attacks in Volgograd in late December, or the recent failed attempts, similarities in tradecraft suggest the same group is responsible...The most likely suspect remains Doku Umarov’s North Caucasus militant group which is reigniting a decade’s-old insurgency in Russia’s south...There is some reason to believe the attacks may be the work of a splinter group or even semi-coordinated lone-wolf style attackers...The bombings have so far not caused any damage to the Olympic venue, however they have killed over 30 people and gathered a wide amount of press coverage, which for the perpetrators greatly increases the attack’s success...Historically, Mr Umarov’s group employs bombings which are followed up by armed, mobile attacks...The Sochi Olympic Games are only a few weeks away, so while Russian intelligence and law enforcement agencies will deploy more than 40,000 extra personnel to the area, they may only have a short window of opportunity to break the unknown militant cells before they strike again…Reports of other bombers at various places throughout Russia will likely continue to appear in media before the games, this will negatively affect ticket sales as some wary overseas travelers will decline to travel to the event...Given the high security at the Olympic venues, attacks on the games themselves will be very difficult...Soft targets such as buses, stations, crowded malls, etc will however remain extremely vulnerable and almost impossible to completely defend, even in Russia.

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