Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 July 2014

Rebel leader claims airport attack

Insurgent leader Doku Umarov speaks in a video message (AP)

A website affiliated with Chechen rebels has released a video in which insurgent leader Doku Umarov claims responsibility for last month's deadly suicide bombing at Russia's largest airport and threatens more bloodshed if Russia does not leave the region.

The Kavkaz Centre website said it received the video late on Monday. It was not clear when or where the video was recorded.

The January 24 attack at Moscow's Domodedovo Airport killed 36 people.

Russian investigators said the bomber was a 20-year-old man from the Caucasus region that includes Chechnya, but have not released his name or other details.

"You see this special operation carried out by my order ... more special operations will be carried out in the future," Umarov says in the video, wearing a camouflage uniform and a skullcap.

"Among us there are hundreds of brothers who are prepared to sacrifice themselves" in further attacks, Umarov says in the video. "We can at any time carry out operations where we want."

Over the weekend, the website released another video in which Umarov also threatened more attacks, saying 2011 would be "the year of blood and tears".

Chechen rebels have fought two full-scale wars against Russian forces since 1994. Major offensives in the second war died down about a decade ago, but the insurgency has continued with small clashes in Chechnya and in neighbouring Caucasus republics.

The rebels have claimed responsibility for an array of terrorist attacks, including last year's double suicide bombing of the Moscow subway system that killed 40 people.

Umarov, who seeks to create a Caucasus emirate independent from Russia and governed by Sharia law, said in the earlier video that he could call on 50 to 60 suicide bombers if necessary.