Students around campus and many people in the Midwest might be getting sick of winter, but I find myself excited about winter due to the fact that the 2014 Olympic Winter Games are right around the corner. However, my excitement turned to uneasiness as reports were made about possible suicide bombers making it past Russian security services.
ABC and NBC News reported that a female suicide bomber may have passed through security for the Sochi Olympic Games. Russian security services may be searching for as many as four “black widows” involved in the potential threat.
The female suspect is believed to be a young widow of an Islamic militant who was killed by Russian security forces last year. She is believed to be affiliated with the Caucasus Emirate, which is a terror group led by Doku Umarov. Umarov has recently made threats against the Winter Games.
A detailed description of the alleged suspect said that she has a limp in her right leg, a left arm that doesn’t bend at the elbow and a four-inch scar on her cheek. Hopefully the information about these physical characteristics will assist officials in locating her. The major problem is that militant groups in the Caucasus frequently use “black widows” because they are harder to identify due to the fact they do not fit the stereotype of an Islamic militant. “Black widows” are known to easily disguise their appearance with different types of clothing and makeup.
Throughout the Olympic Games, Russian authorities are mainly responsible for the security. However, the U.S. government is helping by providing additional security. Approximately 40,000 Russian police and military personnel have been assigned to the region. That seems like a huge number, but will it be enough to keep everyone attending and participating safe?
The first thing that came to mind when I read about these potential threats was the tragic Boston Marathon bombings. It was an unexpected and unforgettable incident that affected many people. I don’t even want to envision what could happen if security officials are unable to find these suspects.
Chairman of the US House Committee on Homeland Security, Michael McCaul, told ABC News that he would be in Sochi on Monday to assess the situation.
“All the briefings that I’ve received, from the intelligence community to the FBI and others, indicate that there are serious concerns, and that we need to do a lot to step up security,” McCaul said. “I do believe (Vladimir) Putin is doing a lot of that.”
Those who are associated with the Caucasus that made threats to attack the Olympic Games claimed responsibility on Sunday through a video for two bombings that occurred last month in the city of Volgograd. The bombings took 34 lives.
However, U.S. officials were not sure if these claims were truthful because they could not figure out if the two men in the video were a “credible threat to the Games.” The video was found on an extremist website.
As I was previously awaiting the start of the Olympic Games, I am now anticipating breaking news on the bombing threats. I am going to pray that the news will be good news.