Sochi Winter Olympics: UK warns terrorist attacks are 'very likely' to occur

Whitehall officials have warned attacks could occur during the Games

Heather Saul
Monday 27 January 2014 09:33
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Policemen walk at the Olympic Park in the Adler district of Sochi 18 January, 2014. UK officials are warning more terrorist attacks are “very likely to occur” in Russia either before or during the Olympics.
Policemen walk at the Olympic Park in the Adler district of Sochi 18 January, 2014. UK officials are warning more terrorist attacks are “very likely to occur” in Russia either before or during the Olympics.

UK officials are warning more terrorist attacks are “very likely to occur” in Russia either before or during the Winter Olympics in Sochi, which are due to begin next week.

A threat assessment has named a Caucasus group, Imarat Kavkaz (IK) as causing the main danger, according to the BBC.

The assessment highlights the IK’s leader, Emir Doku Umarov, who called on his followers to try their hardest to disrupt the Games in July 2013.

However, the document questions whether the group are capable of targeting the event within such a narrow time frame, the BBC reports, with the Games running from 7-23 February.

It notes that the IK has not attacked non-Russian interests previously and focuses its fight on Russia, not the West.

Last week Olympic committees in Germany, Hungary, Italy, Slovenia and the UK received messages threatening their delegations at the Winter Olympics, but these were dismissed by officials as unfounded.

Meanwhile, Russian authorities have been conducting a manhunt for three women they fear may be planning suicide attacks targeting the Games. Police leaflets in Sochi warned that Ruzana Ibragimova, a 22-year-old “Black Widow” of a militant killed by security forces, was at large in the city.

Winter Olympics 2014: Race to find Sochi 'bomber' casts chill over Sochi Games

Security officials also put out wanted posters for Oksana Aslanova, 26, and Dzhannet Tsakhayeva, 34, saying the women were planning attacks in Rostov-on-Don, where the Olympic torch procession arrived on 22 January.

A wanted poster for the ‘Black Widow’ in Sochi

But President Vladimir Putin has pledged the Games will be safe, and Russian authorities are deploying over 37,000 extra law enforcement personnel around Sochi. As part of their “ring of steel” operation, the city has been closed off to all vehicles not registered in the city since 7 January.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is advising all travel to Chechnya, Ingushetia and Dagestan and the districts of Budyonnovsky, Levokumsky, Neftekumsky, Stepnovsky and Kursky in Stavropol Krai.

It also advises against all but essential travel to all travel to Chechnya, Ingushetia and Dagestan and the districts of Budyonnovsky, Levokumsky, Neftekumsky, Stepnovsky and Kursky in Stavropol Krai.

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