Chechen terrorist issues stark video warning to Russians
Russia's most wanted terrorist, Chechen Doku Umarov, warned Muscovites of an upcoming wave of suicide assaults. His video comes just two weeks after a suicide attack at Domodedovo airport.
A new video posted over the weekend by Russia's most wanted terrorist, self-described Chechen "Emir" Doku Umarov, has warned already jittery Muscovites to brace for a "year of blood and tears." His threat: a wave of assaults by up to 60 suicide bombers trained at a secret base in the North Caucasus.Skip to next paragraph
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That chilling message comes just two weeks after a suicide attack on Moscow's Domodedovo airport killed 35 people and wounded almost 200.
The slaughter prompted an outpouring of criticism from leaders as well as security experts over ongoing vulnerabilities more than 16 years after Russian forces first invaded the North Caucasus republic of Chechnya in a bid to put down a separatist uprising.
"These operations will be carried out monthly, or weekly, as God allows and depending upon [Russian] reaction," Mr. Umarov says in thickly accented Russian in the video, which was posted in Russian at Kavkaz Center, a website that often carries statements from Islamist insurgents in Russia's south.
Wearing army camouflage, flanked by two stone-faced lieutenants, and standing beneath a black flag showing a sword and an inscription in Arabic, the heavily bearded Umarov adds: "Through our actions we will awaken you.... we will make this a year of blood and tears."
Self-proclaimed leader of an Islamic 'caliphate'
Umarov styles himself "Emir Dokku Abu Usman" and proclaims himself leader of an Islamic "caliphate" that seeks to wrest from Moscow's rule virtually the entire northern slope of the Caucasus Mountains, including seven autonomous Russian republics strung out between the Caspian and Black seas.
He has taken responsibility for terrorist acts in the past, notably a twin suicide bombing in Moscow's crowded metro system last March that killed almost 40 people.
Umarov makes no mention of the Domodedovo attack, but experts say there may be a gruesome reason for that. They say the grim-faced young man standing on Umarov's left in the video is probably Magomed Yevloyev, a 20-something accounting student from the insurgency-wracked republic of Ingushetia, whom Russian authorities now believe was the suicide bomber who struck the international arrivals area of the airport on Jan. 24.
"In the video, Umarov is introducing this young man, who is going to be sent on a special mission, and there is growing evidence that was the bomber who hit Domodedovo," says Andrei Soldatov, editor of Agentura.ru, an online journal that follows security issues.