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Europe

Russia says Caucasus man was behind Moscow airport blast

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-01-29

Russian investigators said Saturday that the suicide bomber who killed 35 people and wounded 100 others in Moscow was a 20-year-old man from the Caucasus region. Investigators also said the bomber's targets were mainly foreigners.

AFP- Russia said Saturday that this week's horrific attack on a Moscow airport was staged by a suicide bomber from the North Caucasus who tried to kill as many foreigners as he could.

But officials stressed that they could not reveal the 20-year-old man's name or the republic he came from because they were still on the hunt for the perpetrators of the horrific attack.

"We have established the identity of the terrorist suicide bomber who set off the explosive," the Investigative Committee said in a statement.

"He turned out to be a 20-year-old native from one of the North Caucasus republics."

Monday's attack on the country's busiest airport shook Russia's confidence just as it was gearing up to present a modern new face to a flood of foreign visitors who are expected here for the 2014 Winter Olympics and 2018 World Cup.

And investigators said they thought it was no accident that the bomb went off only moments after several European flights landed in the Russian capital.

"I would especially like to note that it was by no means an accident that the act of terror was committed in the international arrivals hall," Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin said in the statement.

"According to investigators, the act of terror was first and foremost aimed against foreign citizens."

The Domodedovo international arrivals hall bomb killed eight foreigners -- including two Austrians and one man each from Britain and Germany.

The second attack on Moscow in less than a year claimed the lives of 35 people in all and prompted President Dmitry Medvedev to sack several transport security officials.

The pace with which investigators reported solving the case underscores the seriousness of the dilemma it posed the Russian leader.

Medvedev has trumpeted a modernisation message that aims to convince foreign investors that Russia was cleaning up its image and becoming more Westernised.

But the blast forced the Kremlin chief to rewrite part of his keynote address at the Davos World Economic Forum and admit before the world community that Russia was still unable to eradicate terror.

Most of Medvedev's wrath has thus far been directed at Moscow airport's management and a series of mid-ranking officials who are responsible for individual security measures.

The country's powerful Federal Security Service (FSB) -- which was once led by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin -- has thus far avoided all criticism for allowing another security failure.

Unofficial reports said the FSB had been on the lookout for three suspects in the days preceding the blast. No one has been arrested or claimed responsibility for the bombing.

The dearth of official details about the investigation has been somewhat compensated by a flood of unofficial -- and often contradictory -- reports about who may have staged the attack and why.

Most Russian news reports have zeroed in on an ethnic Russian member of a North Caucasus militant group who vanished last year.

Police sources said the man -- Vitaly Razdobudko from the Stavropol region just north of the Caucasus mountains -- was probably the organiser of the attack.

His police mug shot has since graced the pages of Russia's biggest dailies and his unusual biography has been detailed in full.

But there has been no official evidence linking Razdobudko to the bombing and it was not clear if investigators had him in mind when reporting the case solved.

Footage of the explosion has been captured by a closed-circuit camera and replayed on Russian television. But speculation continues to swirl over what actually set off the blast.

The Kommersant business daily reported Saturday that the suicide bomber was wearing a plastic explosives belt that was also filled with nuts and bolts.

One source suggested that the explosive belt may have been set off remotely or by mobile phone. But another newspaper said the bomb appeared to be timed.

Earlier accounts said the explosive went off in a bag that may have been placed on the floor.

Date created : 2011-01-29

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