European Olympic committees report athletes threatened in messages

LAUSANNE, Switzerland, Jan. 22 (UPI) —

The Olympic committees of several European nations say they have received messages warning of threats to their athletes at the Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.

Committee officials say the threats do not appear real, ABC News reported Wednesday.

The website of Hungary’s Olympic Committee quoted chairman Zsolt Borkai as saying a "threatening message" had been received. The message was being taken "seriously," Borkai said, and had been forwarded to the International Olympic Committee.

Italy’s Olympic Committee reported Wednesday it had received a similar threat, the Italian news agency ANSA reported.

The committee said it was "serene" about concerns for the safety of Italian athletes and expressed "trust" in the Games’ security measures.

The Olympic committees of Slovenia and Austria also reported terroristic threats to its athletes. A Slovenian Olympic official said an email titled "The very dangerous terrorist threat to Slovenian athletes in Sochi, Russia" had been received. He said the message was a false alarm.

The IOC downplayed the email, saying it "contains no threat and appears to be a random message from a member of the public." The committee said it had determined the email "did not contain a threat about an ‘opinion’ about security around the games from one individual."

All the threats were reportedly made in Russian and English.

Russia has instituted security measures around Sochi it has dubbed the "ring of steel." Tens of thousands of troops have been stationed in the area, a massive surveillance program has been instituted and anti-aircraft missiles have been installed.

Three possible female suicide bombers are being sought by Russian police. One of the women, 22-year-old Ruzanna Ibragimova, is believed to have already entered Sochi.

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