Andrew Osborn








Moscow bombing: Chechen warlord warns 'year of blood and tears' for Russia, 8th February 2011 19:34

By Andrew Osborn, Moscow

The Chechen warlord who claimed responsibility for last month's deadly terrorist attack at Moscow's busiest airport has warned "hundreds" of suicide bombers are primed to launch attacks across Russia to ensure 2011 is a "year of blood and tears"

Doku Umarov, the self-styled leader of Russia's Islamist terror movement, claimed full responsibility for the suicide bombing of Moscow's busiest airport last month, an attack that left thirty six people dead.

"This special operation was carried out on my orders and, if Allah wills it, more of these special operations will be carried out in future," he said by video.

"There are hundreds of our brothers ready to sacrifice their lives to assert the word of Allah."

Umarov had earlier appeared in another video alongside a man he identified as a suicide bomber but had stopped short of claiming responsibility for the airport bombing. This time, he was more explicit, vowing to intensify his campaign of terror by conducting "deeper and more aggressive" attacks.

"We can carry out operations at any time where and when we want," he warned, wagging his finger aggressively every few minutes in a mostly rambling speech.

The 46-year-old terrorist urged the Kremlin to abandon the North Caucasus, its southern flank, altogether explaining that his campaign of terror was meant to turn the area into an Islamist Emirate with him as its Emir.

The Kremlin is adamant that it will never relinquish the North Caucasus, a predominantly Muslim area riven by chronic poverty that includes Chechnya and a string of other small internal republics.

Russian Special Forces have long been hunting Umarov, one of the country's most wanted men. Last year, he assumed responsibility for the double suicide bombing of the Moscow metro that left forty people dead. He has also been linked to the deadly bombing of a passenger train in 2009.

Security at airports has been sharply tightened since last month's attack and everyone now has to pass through rigorous checks just to enter a terminal building.

A raft of top officials at the FSB security service were fired or demoted due to their failure to prevent the attack, and a manhunt for the bomber's accomplices is under way.

The bomber has been unofficially named as a 20-year-old man from the Muslim republic of Ingushetia which borders Chechnya.