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Medvedev calls for 'severe' anti-terror measures on Dagestan visit

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-04-01

As the 39 victims of Monday's lethal suicide bombings were being buried in Moscow, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev was in troubled North Caucasus region of Dagestan where he called for uncompromising anti-terror measures.

AFP - President Dmitry Medvedev on Thursday urged tough anti-terror measures as he made a surprise visit to the North Caucasus region hit by a major suicide attack and linked to the Moscow bombings.

His visit to the North Caucasus region of Dagestan came as the funerals of the 39 killed in Monday's metro suicide bombings were being held in the capital with shattered relatives clutching photographs of their dead loved ones.

The Moscow attacks -- carried out by female suicide bombers and claimed by a North Caucasus Islamist militant group -- were followed Wednesday by a double suicide strike in Dagestan that killed 12.

"The list of anti-terror measures should be expanded, should be not only effective but also tough, severe and preventative," Medvedev said in televised comments from the Dagestan capital Makhachkala.

Underlining the instability, two people were killed in the Khasavurtsky district of Dagestan during the night when their car suspected to have been packed with explosives blew up.

"According to preliminary information, the explosive materials that were in the car went off accidentally," the Interfax news agency quoted a security source as saying.

The Islamist group "Emirate of the Caucasus", which is waging an insurgency to impose an Islamic state based on sharia law in the North Caucasus, claimed the Moscow attacks in a video message from its shadowy leader.

Doku Umarov, who has been the target of several attempts to kill him by the Russian security forces, said he personally gave the order for the strikes on the metro.

"It is a legitimate act of revenge for the continued assassinations of civilians in the Caucasus," he said in the video posted on the website which is frequently used by militants to post messages.

Russia has for years battled Islamist insurgents in the North Caucasus Muslim regions of Dagestan, Chechnya and Ingushetia but Monday's attacks were the first time in six years that such violence has spread to the capital.

Umarov, who uses the nom de guerre Abu Usman and had last month pledged a "holy war" of attacks throughout the country, chillingly warned Russians to expect more strikes.

"The inhabitants of Russia cannot just calmly watch on the television what is happening in the Caucasus when they do not react to the crimes committed by the gangs under (Russian Prime Minister Vladimir) Putin.

"This is why the war is coming into your streets," warned the bearded militant, speaking in an unidentified forest location.

The video was the first claim of responsibility for the metro bombings but its authenticity could not be independently confirmed.

The Kommersant daily quoted investigation sources as saying that the two women who staged the Moscow metro attacks were among 30 people recruited by militant leaders to carry out suicide bombings.

It added that the two women are believed to have taken a bus from the Dagestan town of Kizlyar, the same place where the double suicide bombing killed 12 on Wednesday.

Funerals for many of the victims from the Moscow bombings -- who ranged from a girl of just 17 to a woman of 64 -- were being held at nine cemeteries in Moscow also in the southern city of Krasnodar.

Some 16 bodies have also been dispatched to their homes as far afield as the Far East region of Yakutia and the Central Asian state of Tajikistan for burial, the ITAR-TASS news agency quoted municipal officials as saying.

The main evidence in the investigation is the two bombers' severed heads which were recovered by police after the bombings. Their photographs covered in blood have been released in the media.

Unconfirmed reports have said the bombers arrived in Moscow from the Caucasus by bus early Monday accompanied by an unidentified male who is now the subject of a police search.

Date created : 2010-04-01


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