Chechen rebel leader Doku Umarov, who has claimed responsibility for organizing terror attacks in Russia, called on Islamic militants to target the 2014 Winter Games in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.
Umarov’s earlier call for halting strikes outside the North Caucasus region had been interpreted as a sign of weakness by Moscow, he said in a statement published today on a rebel website.
President Vladimir Putin stepped up security in the North Caucasus region after two ethnic Chechen brothers became suspects in the Boston bombing in April. Violence in the area is up, with 147 people injured in armed conflicts in May, more than twice than in April, according to Moscow-based news and research group Caucasian Knot. Sochi borders the mostly Muslim region that includes Chechnya.
“The attack in Boston was at a world-class sporting event and it seems Umarov sees the Olympics as a similar opportunity to attract international attention,” Grigory Shvedov, chief editor of the Moscow-based news and research group Caucasian Knot, said by phone.