“Black widows” are being hunted by Russians ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics held in Sochi. Sochi, located on the Eastern coast of Black Sea is near Volgograd, which was subject to two terrorist attacks last month that killed 35 people. Two male Chechen Islamic fundamentalists took responsibility for the attacks. In an ongoing security debate of the Winter Olympics Russian President Vladimir Putin assures the United States and the world at-large that Sochi will be a safe place come February.
In the latest developments on the nature of terrorism in the region, Russian police killed a suspected Islamic militant in a shootout in the town Dagestan – the deceased being a “black widow” terrorist. The term “black widow” was formed by nature of these militants. Black widows are female suicide bombers who lost their husbands to other suicide bombings and battles with foreign militaries. A majority of black widows are of Chechen origin and are Russian coverts to fundamentalist Islam. Chechnya and areas in the North Caucasus region has been targeted by Russia for decades due to the increasing number of anti-Russian terrorist attacks.
The individual killed in the police raid in Dagestan is confirmed to be Eldar Magato, a black widow who is one of many vowing to create havoc among the Sochi Winter Olympics. It has also emerged that Russian intelligence is pursuing two other suspected black widows that are known Chechen separatists. Security forces in the Caucasus Region have distributed fliers which name three women who are suspected to attempt an attack on hotel in the port city of Rostov-on-Don this week. The filers warn locals that the suspected terrorists may be wearing non-traditional Islamic clothing in order to infiltrate gatherings without being noticed.
People are also to be on watch for the widow of an Islamic militant, Ruzanna “Salima” Ibragimova. It has been reported that she may be involved in organizing a potential attack on the Olympic Games in Sochi. Russian authorities have received information that Ibragimova has already arrived in the region and is possibly in the port city of Rostov-on-Don. Ibragimova is one of the top black widows being hunted by Russians.
NBC News terrorism analyst, Evan Kohlmann stated the posters infer, “gaping holes in security right now in Sochi.” Russian security has implemented a “ring of steel” around the Sochi area to protect those coming from all over the world. The zone that spans over 1,500-square-miles includes tens of thousands of police officers and monitoring drones and patrol boats using sensitive sonar to quell any violence. Although Russian police forces are being displaced in droves, security experts do not feel that this is the best option.
Russian security expert, Andrei Soldatov stated that government intelligence is needed to forward the apprehension of lone-wolf suicide bombers. He emphasized the need for preventative measures due to the potential cataclysmic outcome of a large-scale attack. It has been a problem for Russian authorities for decades being unable to penetrate small-cell terrorism groups due to their silence and a limited telecommunications activity. A video has also surfaced with a grim message regarding next month’s Olympic Games. “We’ve prepared a present for you and all tourists who’ll come over. If you hold the Olympics, you’ll get a present from us for the Muslim blood that’s been spilled,” the video stated. The video is believed to have been from the two males that conducted the two deadly attacks in Volgograd last month. The videos are also being backed by suspected black widows.
Monday the Pentagon motioned to Russian intelligence that the U.S. has offered to provide air and naval assets. The U.S. has also dispatched two naval vessels to the Black Sea. However, it is very unlikely that Putin will ask for help. The U.S. Military is also drawing up contingency plans to evacuate U.S. citizens if problems arise from terrorist threats. While Russian officials deal with the terrorist threats on their own, the hunt for the black widows has commenced.
By: Alex Lemieux