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SBD Global/July 4, 2013/Olympics

Russian Islamist Doku Umarov Calls For Attacks On 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics

The leader of Russia's Islamist movement "has lifted a moratorium on attacks inside Russia and called on his rebels to disrupt the upcoming Winter Olympics in the southern city of Sochi," according to Miriam Elder of the London GUARDIAN. In a video dated in June, Russian Islamist Doku Umarov said his followers must use "maximum force" to ensure the Games do not take place. After claiming responsibility for deadly attacks on the Moscow metro and Moscow's Domodedovo airport, Umarov last year "declared a ceasefire inside Russia as protests against the Kremlin leadership gripped the capital." In the video he said Russian President Vladimir Putin "had mistaken the move for weakness." Umarov: "Today we must show those who live in the Kremlin … that our kindness is not weakness" (GUARDIAN, 7/3). REUTERS' Thomas Grove reported Umarov "sat wearing camouflage fatigues and a cap in front of a black jihadist flag, flanked by two fighters who, like him, were bearded." Umarov: "They (Russia) plan to hold the Olympics on the bones of our ancestors, on the bones of many, many dead Muslims, buried on the territory of our land on the Black Sea, and we as mujahideen are obliged to not permit that, using any methods allowed us by the almighty Allah" (REUTERS, 7/3). The AP's Nataliya Vasilyeva reported analysts have said that the Islamic insurgency raging across the North Caucasus mountains that tower over Sochi "is a daunting threat to the Games" -- although rebels have not attacked Sochi so far (AP, 7/3).

MAKING SOCHI SAFE: In London, Charles Clover reported Sochi Mayor Anatoly Pakhomov said the Games had taken “unprecedented precautions on security” while constructing Olympic sites. Pakhomov: “I am always worried about security, but I am confident that we have the right measures in place.” The issue of safety "will continue to worry officials," given the proximity of the games to the war-torn North Caucasus region, with Chechnya and Dagestan located just over the Caucasus Mountains from Sochi (FINANCIAL TIMES, 7/3). RIA NOVOSTI reported Russia's federal counter-terrorism officials "pledged safety at the international sports events to be held in the country." The National Antiterrorist Committee (NAK) said in a statement, "despite calls by various gang leaders … active in certain regions of the North Caucasus, all of Russia’s state institutions, special services and law enforcement bodies are constantly implementing a set of measures aimed at providing security for Russian citizens." The NAK statement "stressed a particular focus on large-scale international sports events" (RIA NOVOSTI, 7/3).
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