Airport attack was just the start, militants warn Russia

Video appears to show Moscow bomber and warns of 'monthly, weekly' atrocities

Moscow

Russia's most wanted militant has vowed to bring "a year of blood and tears" to the country, in a video where he appears flanked by a man resembling the main suspect in last month's Moscow airport bombing.

In the clip uploaded to a rebel website over the weekend, Doku Umarov – the self-styled "Emir of the Caucasus" and the leader of the Islamic insurgency in the country's south – was flanked by two men, one of whom is believed to be the suicide bomber who attacked Domodedovo airport.

Umarov does not mention the airport bombing in the undated video, which appears to have been made before the attack. He introduces a man standing on his left as "Seifullah" and says he is being sent to Moscow to carry out a "special operation".

Russian media believe the man in the video could be Magomed Yevloyev, 20, from the troubled republic of Ingushetia, which borders Chechnya. Russian security agencies have said the bomber was a 20-year-old native of the North Caucasus whose identity was already known, but refused to officially release the name while investigations were ongoing.

However, media outlets known to be close to the FSB security service have named the bomber as Yevloyev, and the figure in this weekend's video bears a striking resemblance to a widely-circulated photograph of the young man. Yevloyev, whose father is a bus driver and whose mother works as a school teacher, left his home in the village of Ali-Yurt in Ingushetia last summer, supposedly in search of work.

Instead, it appears he began a path which would lead him to blow himself up in the arrivals hall of Domodedovo airport a fortnight ago, killing 36 people and wounding 180. Eight foreigners, including one Briton, were among those killed.

Last week, Alexander Bortnikov, the head of the FSB, told President Dmitry Medvedev that a "huge amount of highly powerful drugs and psychotropic substances" had been found in the bomber's body. Since the attack both Mr Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin have spoken in uncompromising terms about the need to "liquidate" terrorists, but the video will be worrying for Russia's rulers, who have staked their reputations on pacifying the North Caucasus.

"Depending on the reaction, depending on your actions, God willing, these operations will be conducted monthly, weekly, as God allows us," Umarov says in the video. The chilling 12-minute recording is shot in a small, enclosed space, and the three men are dressed in combat fatigues, positioned below a black flag with an Arabic inscription.

Umarov, speaking in heavily accented Russian, says he is at a base of the "Riyadus Salikhin brigade of martyrs", a terrorist division that has taken responsibility for previous attacks.

"I have made a long journey to come here and see these brothers," he says. "I have made a long journey so our brothers can carry out a special operation... in the capital of Russia.

"It is through our actions that we are having to wake you up," he says, addressing the Russian people. "If this is too little for you, then, God willing, other strikes will follow, too. I can tell you with 100 per cent confidence that if there is God's will for it... we will make this year a year of blood and tears."

The young man on Umarov's left, who may well be the Moscow airport bomber Yevloyev, speaks at the end of the video. He talks quietly, stumbling over his words and with his face bathed in an eerie white light, saying he has accepted the task of carrying out an attack. "Other brothers will come after me to give their lives for God," he says. "These are my last words."

According to Russian security sources, police are hunting for two accomplices of Yevloyev, whom they believe helped co-ordinate the attack and are still at large. These are his brother, Islam Yevloyev, and Adam Ganizhev, also from Ali-Yurt in Ingushetia.

The Russian website Life News interviewed Ganizhev's father Magomed, who said his son disappeared on 31 August last year, dressed in light clothes and with just 80 roubles (£1.60) in his wallet. "Since then we have heard nothing about him," said the father, adding that the family had informed local police and government officials about their son's disappearance.

'The emir of the caucasus'

* Doku Umarov is Russia's most notorious terrorist and the nominal leader of the insurgency that spans the south of Russia. Believed to be continually on the move in the mountainous terrain of Chechnya, Ingushetia and Dagestan, he has eluded capture or death despite the best attempts of the Russian army and security services.



* Umarov took up the leadership of the insurgency after several other leaders were killed in 2005 and 2006, notably Shamil Basayev, who masterminded the Beslan school siege, and Aslan Maskhadov, who was President of Chechnya when it was a de facto independent state in the late 1990s.



* Born in Chechnya in 1964, Umarov studied engineering at Grozny University, but went on to become a rebel fighter in both Chechen wars. He has been a fighter in the terrorist underground since the end of the second Chechen war when Moscow took back control of the territory, and there are rumours that he personally took part in the Beslan school siege.



* As the local Kremlin-backed strongman Ramzan Kadyrov has rebuilt Chechnya, Umarov has moved the insurgency's goals away from secular Chechen nationalism towards a more overarching Islamist rhetoric. Widespread unemployment, police brutality and official corruption in the republics of the North Caucasus act as recruiting sergeants for Umarov's cause. Militants now come not only from Chechnya but from across the region.



* Experts believe that the insurgents no longer have the capacity to carry out large-scale terrorist attacks such as the Moscow theatre siege in 2002 or Beslan. However there are almost daily attacks on police and other officials in the North Caucasus itself, and the Domodedovo bombing shows that they can still mount isolated suicide attacks in the Russian capital.



* Recently, there have been rumours that Umarov is critically ill, and that other rebel leaders have sought to depose him. But if this weekend's video, which ends with Umarov embracing the man he is sending on a "special operation", does indeed turn out to show the Moscow airport bomber, it will prove that Umarov is still at the centre of things and able to oversee such attacks personally.

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SSRS Report Developer - Urgent Contract - London - £300pd

£300 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: SSRS Report Developer – 3 Mon...

KS1 Teacher

£95 - £150 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Key Stage 1 teacher require...

HR Business Partner - Essex - £39,000 plus benefits

£32000 - £39000 per annum + benefits + bonus: Ashdown Group: Generalist HR Man...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £30000 per annum + uncapped: SThree: Do you feel like your sales role...

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?