Moscow airport bombers were part of suicide squad trained in Pakistan: Report

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

MOSCOW - The suicide bombers who carried out the Moscow airport attack were probably part of a suicide squad trained in Pakistan’s al-Qaeda strongholds.

A newspaper close to Russia’s FSB security service published what it claimed was a warning issued in December to the Moscow police, which said there was credible intelligence that a suicide squad made up of three women and one man from Chechnya was headed to Moscow, The Telegraph reported.

The memo said the team had spent time in Pakistan and Iran, and that one of the women had a relative with a flat in Moscow that might be used as a bomb-making factory.

Another group of five Islamist militants trained in Pakistan was also expected to cross into Russia soon, it added.

Intelligence services have been embarrassed by the revelation that informants had warned of an attack on an airport in the Russian capital just weeks before the incident. Security experts said the tip-off had revealed that a criminal gang based in the Moscow suburbs was assisting a Chechen bombing-making squad, and that a suicide cell was travelling from the training camp, the report said.

Following the blast that rocked Moscow’s Domodedovo airport, killing 35 people and wounding over 130 others, Russian security sources said yesterday that a male and female suicide bomber from the Black Widow brigades had carried out the bombing together. The attack had been closely supervised by three accomplices, who had watched from a distance and are now being sought by the authorities, the report added.

A Russian security official said the bomb attack was carried by a woman, who mingled with the crowd at arrivals, and then either herself set the bomb off or someone else detonated it using a remote-control device.

A grisly picture of the severed head of the male terrorist, who was standing beside the suicide bomber when the blast happened, is being circulated around police and security services in the troubled mostly-Muslim North Caucasus region to see if anyone recognised him, said the report.

The region, which includes restive internal Russian republics such as Chechnya, Ingushetia and Dagestan, is in the grip of a growing Islamist insurgency and has served as a launching pad in the past for a series of deadly strikes on civilian targets in Moscow and other cities, it added. (ANI)

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