Sochi Security Raised as Police Seek Black Widows

 Sochi Olympics

Sochi security, both in and around the Olympic city, was stepped up again as Russian security forces search for female suicide bombers known as “Black Widows” reportedly in the region.

Russian security forces are looking for up to four female terrorists.  The women were sent to carry out terrorist attacks at the site of the Winter Olympics. Russian security forces think one of the women is in, or extremely close to, the Olympic City. American and Russian officials, speaking before a press conference Monday, said that wanted posters have gone up in the city where the 2014 games open February 7.

A special notice has been issued for Ruzan Ibragimova, also known as Ruzana.  The 22-year old was the spouse of an Islamic extremist killed by Russian forces twelve months ago.  The posters describe Ibragimova as having a noticeable limp in her right leg, a left arm that does not move at the elbow and a 4 inch scar on her cheek. She has been living in Dagestan, a Russian republic, and she may be a tool for an attack inside the Olympic area.

Terrorist cells in the Dagestan area have used females as “black widows” in the past.  Black widows are female terrorists who seek to avenge the deaths of their husbands.  They can be difficult to spot in a crowd as they do not fit the typical idea of a terrorist. The numbers of female suicide bombers have been increasing globally.  While gaining momentum primarily among Palestinians, the deadly option to die for a cause is appearing more in many countries.

The report Monday added to the fears of terrorism as the opening day of the games gets nearer.  On Sunday, a video was released which showed two men from an Islamist group threatening to attack the Olympics in Sochi. In the video, the men claim responsibility for the December suicide bombings  in Volgograd, which killed 34 people.  Volgograd was on the route for the Olympic torch on its marathon run leading up to the Olympics.

One of the men said the potential bombing is “…only a little example.”  Saying they will have a “surprise package” for Olympic athletes and visitors, the video heightened security in an environment already tighter than at most airports. American legislators are expressing frustration about the level of security which Russia has at Sochi.

According to Rep. Mike Rogers, the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Interring Committee, in an interview with CNN, American legislators are not getting all of the information required to protect American athletes in the games. Russia has mentioned several times their intention to protect Sochi with a “ring of steel.”  The city has been the recipient of metal detectors, explosive detectors and bomb-sniffing dogs.

Groups which have been threatening the Olympics are saying they will not only target the host city, but other cities in Russia as well. The Republican chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Michael McCaul, sees the attacks as probably occurring outside of the secure perimeter where softer targets are available.

Speaking to reporters over the weekend, Russian President Putin promised adequate security measures that will not be too invasive or apparent.  He promised to increase the daily security briefings about Sochi and other areas close by in light of the ‘Black Widows’ who are in the vicinity of the 2014 games.

By Jerry Nelson


Voice of America
New York Daily News

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