Radical Islamists released a new video on Sunday and promised a surprise for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. It was released just after President Vladimir Putin appeared on ABC’s “This Week” where he promised athletes and visitors will be safe.
The duo — dressed in street clothes and without the usual trappings of jihadis — casually explained that Russians and those attending the Winter Games next month will not be safe so long as forces sent by President Vladimir Putin occupy the North Caucasus region near Sochi, Russia.
“We’ll have a surprise package for you,” one of the men said in the militants’ video. “And those tourists that will come to you, for them, too, we have a surprise. If it happens [the Olympics], we’ll have a surprise for you. This is for all the Muslim blood that is shed every day around the world, be it in Afghanistan, Somalia, Syria, all around the world. This will be our revenge.”
There have been four attacks in Russia since October. A female suicide bomber associated with the Muslims in the North Caucasus region blew herself up on a bus in Volgograd. In December, a suicide bomber attacked a train station in the city and less than 24 hours later another one exploded on a bus. 40 people died in the three attacks. Volgograd is a major transportation hub that connects Moscow and southern Russia. More than likely the athletes and tourists will pass through the city to Sochi.
On January 9, four cars were found with six bodies rigged with bombs in Stavropol. Only one exploded and no one was hurt, but it is another blemish on Russia. Stavropol is directly between Volgograd and Sochi, but is also a city where many of the terrorists pass through to enter Russia.
This video is the first time anyone claimed responsibility for the December attacks in Volgograd. In July, Doku Umarov, leader of the Muslim terrorists in Chechnya, released a video that encouraged his followers to make the Olympics a target. Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyroz said on Friday he believes Umarov is dead, but there is no other confirmation.
After the December attacks the US offered Russia more security in Sochi and after the Stavropol incident the State Department issued a strong travel advisory. Officials say Russia is not cooperating as much as they would like.
There will be small armed teams of U.S. security personnel allowed to be in Sochi, but the Russians are very much running their own show, in their own way, and apparently don’t see any need to let U.S. security personnel in on every plan or piece of intelligence. U.S. officials said they concerned if they complain too much, the Russians could restrict even more the number of armed U.S. personnel allowed to be in the country.