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Russia suicide bombing kills at least 15

MOSCOW (AP) - A suicide bomber struck a busy railway station in southern Russia on Sunday, killing at least 15 others and wounding scores more, officials said, in a stark reminder of the threat Russia is facing as it prepares to host February's Olympics in Sochi.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the bombing in Volgograd, but it came several months after Chechen rebel leader Doku Umarov called for new attacks against civilian targets in Russia, including the Sochi Games.

Suicide bombings have rocked Russia for years, but many have been contained to the Caucasus, the center of an insurgency seeking an Islamist state in the region. Until recently Volgograd was not a typical target, but the city formerly known as Stalingrad has now been struck twice in two months - suggesting militants may be using the transportation hub as a renewed way of showing their reach outside their restive region.

Volgograd, which borders the Caucasus, is 900 kilometers (550 miles) south of Moscow and about 650 kilometers (400 miles) northeast of Sochi, a Black Sea resort flanked by the North Caucasus Mountains.

The bombing highlights the daunting security challenge Russia will face in fulfilling its pledge to make the Sochi Games the "safest Olympics in history." The government has deployed tens of thousands of soldiers, police and other security personnel to protect the games.

Through the day, officials issued conflicting statements on casualties. Officials said that the suspected bomber was a woman, but late Sunday the Interfax news agency quoted an unidentified law enforcement officer as saying footage taken by surveillance cameras indicated that the bomber was a man. There was no immediate confirmation of that claim from any official sources.

The bomber detonated explosives in front of a metal detector just beyond the station's main entrance when a police sergeant became suspicious and rushed forward to check ID, officials said. The officer was killed by the blast, and several other policemen were wounded.

"When the suicide bomber saw a policeman near a metal detector, she became nervous and set off her explosive device," Vladimir Markin, the spokesman for the nation's top investigative agency, said in a statement. He added that the bomb contained about 10 kilograms (22 pounds) of TNT and was rigged with shrapnel.

Markin said that security controls prevented a far greater number of casualties at the station, which was packed with people at a time when several trains were delayed.

Markin said 13 people and the bomber were killed on the spot, and the regional government said two other people later died at a hospital. About 40 were hospitalized, many in grave condition.

The Interfax news agency reported that the suspected bomber's head was found at the site of explosion, which would allow quick identification.

Lifenews.ru, a Russian news portal that reportedly has close links to security agencies, said the attacker appeared to have been a woman whose two successive rebel husbands had been killed by Russian security forces in the Caucasus.

Female suicide bombers, many of whom were widows or sisters of rebels, have mounted numerous attacks in Russia. They often have been referred to as "black widows."

In October, a female suicide bomber blew herself up on a city bus in Volgograd, killing six people and injuring about 30. Officials said that attacker came from the province of Dagestan, which has become the center of the Islamist insurgency that has spread across the region after two separatist wars in Chechnya.

As in Sunday's blast, her bomb was rigged with shrapnel that caused severe injuries.

Chechnya has become more stable under the grip of its Moscow-backed strongman, who incorporated many of the former rebels into his feared security force. But in Dagestan, the province between Chechnya and the Caspian Sea, Islamic insurgents who declared an intention to carve out an Islamic state in the region mount near daily attacks on police and other officials.

Rights groups say that authorities' tough response involving arbitrary arrests, torture and killings of terror suspects has fueled the rebellion.

The Kremlin replaced Dagestan's provincial chief earlier this year, and the new leader abandoned his predecessor's attempts at reconciliation and his efforts to persuade some of the rebels to surrender in exchange for amnesty.

Security camera images broadcast by Rossiya 24 television showed Sunday's moment of explosion, a bright orange flash inside the station behind the massive main gate followed by plumes of smoke.

"As soon as I walked up to the station entrance, all hell broke loose - people, flesh

Another witness, Roman Lobachev, told Rossiya television that he was putting his bags on a belt for screening when he heard the sound of an explosion. "I heard a bang and felt as if something hit me on the head," said Lobachev who survived the attack with minor injuries.

The bombing followed Friday's explosion in the city of Pyatigorsk in southern Russian, where a car rigged with explosives blew up on a street, killing three.

Following Sunday's explosion, the Interior Ministry ordered police to beef up patrols at railway stations and other transport facilities across Russia.

Russia in past years has seen a series of terror attacks on buses, trains and airplanes, some carried out by suicide bombers.

Twin bombings on the Moscow subway in March 2010 by female suicide bombers killed 40 people and wounded more than 120. In January 2011, a male suicide bomber struck Moscow's Domodedovo Airport, killing 37 people and injuring more than 180.

Umarov, who had claimed responsibility for the 2010 and 2011 bombings, ordered a halt to attacks on civilian targets during the mass street protests against President Vladimir Putin in the winter of 2011-12. He reversed that order in July, urging his men to "do their utmost to derail" the Sochi Olympics which he described as "satanic dances on the bones of our ancestors."

A group calling itself Anonymous Caucasus said in a statement Friday on the Caucasus rebel web site, kavkazcenter.com, that it would launch cyber-attacks to avenge Russia's refusal to acknowledge the 19th-century expulsion of Chirkassians, one of the ethnic groups in the Caucasus.

Phone and email messages to the International Olympic Committee were not returned immediately. In the past, the IOC has said security at the games was the responsibility of the host country and that it had full confidence in Russian plans for Sochi.

In preparation, Russian authorities have introduced some of the most extensive identity checks and sweeping security measures ever seen at an international sports event.

Anyone wanting to attend the games that open on Feb. 7 will have to buy a ticket online from the organizers and obtain a "spectator pass" for access. Doing so will require providing passport details and contacts that will allow the authorities to screen all visitors and check their identities upon arrival.

The security zone created around Sochi stretches approximately 100 kilometers (60 miles) along the Black Sea coast and up to 40 kilometers (25 miles) inland. Russian forces include special troops to patrol the forested mountains towering over the resort, drones to keep constant watch over Olympic facilities and speed boats to patrol the coast.

The security plan includes a ban on cars from outside the zone from a month before the games begin until a month after they end.

____

Associated Press writer Steve Wilson contributed to this report.

Suspected Female Suicide Bomber In Russia Kills At Least 13

Join the discussion

1000|Char. 1000  Char.
l2d3b December 29 2013 at 1:07 PM

You don't negotiate with mad dogs, you eliminate them.

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1 reply
barryaclarke l2d3b December 29 2013 at 1:13 PM

You must be referring to "Fanatic Islamic Muslims".................

Flag Reply +2 rate up
1 reply
Michael barryaclarke December 29 2013 at 2:50 PM

How can you tell a "Fanatic Islamic Muslim" froe a peasefull Muslim?

Flag 0 rate up
rlmcanoe December 29 2013 at 10:29 AM

I don't understand when someone is that angry with things, why do they have to hurt innocent people, why not just do yourself in and let everyone else move on with their lives.

Flag Reply +7 rate up
madeirawoodaka1 December 29 2013 at 12:58 PM

We have a weapon that can put a big dent in suicide bombing and terrorist attacks and that is
advertising PUBLIC RELATIONS directed at the majority of Muslim members! By contacting the Muslim people and urging them to put a stop to murderous attacks on their own people by
criminal murderous Jihadists...the weight of the advertising for peace will marshal the Muslim people to arrest, convict and jail or execute the terrorists! We have the ability to successfully do this! The time is now to get started! rcw

Flag Reply +5 rate up
attyclientpriv December 29 2013 at 10:32 AM

Muslims against Doku Umarov - the infidel.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
Sonny December 29 2013 at 10:33 AM

Hmmmmm, just another poor deprived "their way or the highway" islamist. No religion there..... just a bunch of cowards who hide behind women and "religion" to instill terrorism all over the world. Time to eradicate the threat. There are many ways to accomplish this task, but our "leaders" have failed to see the seriousness of the threat caused by these cowards.

Flag Reply +9 rate up
TexasKitty December 29 2013 at 3:05 PM

We can be sure of one thing Putin will not call this a "work place violence: as Obama did about the Muslim terrorist who killed 13 people and wounded many at Fort Hood in Texas. We must understand the fanatic Muslims, this is what they are bred to do, as soon as they are of age, the children are indoctrinated in hatred and violence and are told that they will go to Paradise when they kill others who don't believe as they do. No one will come in Islam and tell them that it is wrong, killing is against God's law. The suicide bombers make Satan very happy, lots of room reserved for the terrorists down there.

Flag Reply +8 rate up
2 replies
David TexasKitty December 29 2013 at 3:35 PM

You know dear, you sound very much like the Christian version of what you say you revile. You know, home school, rewriting scholl text books to reflect a religious bias, denying evolution, teaching some biblical lifestyle as YOU interpret them. It sounds to me like you also harbor a bit of hatred Ms Kitty.. Correct me if I'm wrong but don't Christians believe that "no one comes to the Father but by me"? The me of course is Jesus. What's the difference? Neil Young wrote a tune in responae to your fellow Texan's wars and one of the line were regarding national flags, but could be religions or just about anything that compels us to close our mind and see other's points of view as evil. Anyway, the lines went like this: what colors are the flags today, and what makes you think you believe in your more than they believe in theirs. My point is this, often things are not as they seem, things get convoluted, distorted and manipulated. I don't know if Putin might have ordered these attacks for his own purposes just like I am not certain that George Bush did not have some involvement in 911. I will say this, I think it is more likely that Bush/Cheney had some prior knowledge of 911 than it is that Barack Obama is a secret Muslim or foreign born. Just because your view/opinion is different from mine or anyone else's does not make yours right, or mine either for that matter, How bout a little of what Jesus was said to have taught, LOVE and PEACE?

Flag Reply 0 rate up
4 replies
Lakotawmn1 TexasKitty December 29 2013 at 4:29 PM

You are so right. Any terrorist activity in this country is not called an act of terrorism. But....what do you expect from a Muslim?

Flag Reply +5 rate up
gerald01612 December 29 2013 at 3:14 PM

I live next door to muslims. the day after 9/11 they had a party to celebrate. They live like swine. They took a beautiful home and turned it into junk yard. They are dirty, crass, and disgusting to look at. Now we are importing them as fast as we can. Who is responsible for that ? We are ! I wonder if any of us will man up and apologize to our grand children for what we have wreaked upon them. I already have. I am so sorry that I did nothing to keep them from our door.

Flag Reply +12 rate up
3 replies
Dmoongo December 29 2013 at 12:50 PM

I'll stay home and watch the Olympics on TV, thank you.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
elrod.porkmore December 29 2013 at 8:35 PM

Russia wont mess with these muslims , they will mow them all down and fast

Flag Reply +3 rate up
1 reply
PSYCHiATRY is a SCAM elrod.porkmore December 29 2013 at 9:30 PM

all ? this war has been going on for decades ; how long is fast ?

Flag Reply +2 rate up
smastro1 December 29 2013 at 12:48 PM

The good thing is that the person can only do it once.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
2 replies
Ron smastro1 December 29 2013 at 1:09 PM

Yes, but that person also gets to eat grapes with mohamed. with lots of virgins.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
Paul smastro1 December 29 2013 at 1:15 PM

I guess these female suicide bomber must be lesbians so they can get their 72 virgins too

Flag Reply 0 rate up
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