Police in Sochi, Russia have launched what they are saying is an “urgent search” for a “Black Widow” suicide bomber that may have already made it past security set up for the Olympic games. News of this search comes shortly after an Islamic threat to the Winter Olympics set to begin next month.
This new man hunt is for Ruzanna (Salima) Ibragimova according to The New York Daily News, a widow of an Islamic militant killed during a gun battle with police last year. Hotel employees told ABC News that posters of Ibragimova, 22, had been distributed over the weekend and authorities have said that similar posters were seen posted at Sochi’s airport.
“As is always the case, we are working with the U.S. Department of State, the local organizers and the relevant law enforcement agencies in an effort to ensure that our delegation and other Americans traveling to Sochi are safe,” spokesperson Patrick Sandusky said.
What has many worried is that this “Black Widow” suicide bomber could have made it into Sochi so easily, despite the so-called “ring of steel” which refers to Shoci’s security forces. Over and over again, President Vladimir Putin has said that his security forces will make the Olympic games safe for everyone.
“The fact that one individual either was able to stay in the area before the ring of steel went up or get through it really raises questions about the strength of the Russia security apparatus,” said Christopher Swift, a Georgetown University professor who has studied militant groups in the North Caucasus.”The specific worry is that she’s a woman and because of that it’s easier for women to infiltrate indoor or outdoor venues, that she could be a bomb carrier.”
The “Black Widow” suicide bomber, Ibragimova, is being described as having a pronounced limp, still left arm that doesn’t bend at the elbow, and of having 10 centimeter scar across her left cheek. Investigators believe that she may have entered the city 10 days ago and could be one of up to four “black widow” suicide bombers that are being sought after by security officials.
President Vladimir Putin continues to insist that he is doing everything he can to make sure the safety of those planning to attend the Winter Olympics. According to CNN, access to Sochi is under heavy restriction. Putin said in an interview this weekend that about 40,000 members of Russia’s police and security fores would be guarding events.
[Images via Black Sports Online & PBS]