Arrests made in Volgograd, Russia, bombings that killed 34
MOSCOW — Two suicide bombers whose attacks last month in Volgograd raised fear of terrorist strikes in Russia during the upcoming Olympic Games have been identified and two accomplices arrested, authorities said Thursday.
The bombers struck the Volgograd rail station Dec. 29 and a crowded trolley bus the next day, killing 34 people in all. The city is about 400 miles northeast of Sochi, site of the Winter Olympics, and near the Caucasus region, which has long been a battleground between Islamist militants and Russian security forces.
“The two suicide bombers were identified as members of the so-called Buynaksk terrorist group: Asker Samedov and Suleiman Magomedov,” a statement on the National Anti-Terrorism Committee’s website says, referring to a town in the restive Dagestan region.
The statement identified two brothers, Magomednabi and Tagir Batirov, who were detained on suspicion of having helped bring the suicide bombers to Volgograd.
A video released in mid-January on an Islamist website showed two men, identified only as Abdurkhman and Suleiman, who were said to be preparing to carry out the attacks.
The same site also carried a statement by a commander of the group threatening more terrorist acts aimed against the Sochi Olympics.
President Vladimir Putin last week vowed to keep those at the Games safe. About 40,000 police and special forces officers will enforce security there under the command of a round-the-clock headquarters staff, Putin said in interviews with Russian and foreign television networks.
“We have a perfect understanding of the scope of the threat and how to deal with it and how to prevent it,” he said. “I hope that our law enforcement agencies will deal with it with honor and dignity, the way it was during other major sports and political events.”