National

Jan 20, 2014 10:53 AM by Connie Murphy

Scarred woman hunted as Sochi Games near

SOCHI, Russia - Racing to protect the Winter Olympics from terror, Russian authorities hunted Monday for a woman - disappeared from a volatile region and with a prominent scar on her cheek - they believe may be part of a plot against the games.

A security notice obtained by NBC News alerted hotels in Sochi, where the Olympics begin Feb. 7, to be on the lookout for the woman, identified as Ruzana Ibragimova.

In a video, recorded before their deaths, that has recently surfaced, two suicide bombers suspected of a deadly attack on a Volgograd train station threaten a "surprise" during the Olympics at Sochi.

The notice says that Russian security officials have been informed of her possible departure from Dagestan, a Russian republic in the restive Caucasus area, earlier this month, and that she may be used for an attack inside the Olympic zone.

It says that she has liming on her right leg, a left arm immovable at the elbow and a 4-inch scar on her left cheek. Russian police and security officials declined to comment on the document.

On Sunday, a video surfaced in which two men from an Islamist militant group threatened to attack the Olympics, warning that "a surprise" is in store for President Vladimir Putin and tourists attending the games.

The men claim responsibility in the video for two suicide bombings last month in the Russian city of Volgograd that killed 34 people. The Olympic torch passed through Volgograd on Monday on its way to Sochi, where the games open Feb. 7.

"That which we will do, that which we have done, is only a little example, a little step," one the men, from the Islamist organization Anars Al Sunna, says in the hour-long video, released Sunday.

"We'll have a surprise package for you," one of them says, addressing Russian officials. "And those tourists that will come to you, for them, too, we have a surprise."

With less than three weeks to go before the opening ceremony, security in Sochi is already tighter than at most airports, and Putin has vowed to take every step necessary to protect the Olympics.

The video surfaced Sunday as American officials expressed frustration at what they called a lack of cooperation from Russian security officials.

"They've now moved 30,000 armed troops to the region. That tells you their level of concern is great," Rep. Mike Rogers, the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said on the CNN program "State of the Union."

"But we don't seem to be getting all of the information we need to protect our athletes in the games. I think this needs to change, and it should change soon."

Sen. Angus King, an independent from Maine, said on the same program: "I would not go, and I don't think I would send my family."

Russia has promised to protect Sochi within a "ring of steel." The city is packed with metal detectors, bomb-sniffing dogs and explosive detectors. But groups threatening the Olympics say they will target not just the host city but other areas of Russia.

"I think the threats are real," Rep. Michael McCaul, the Republican chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said on ABC's "This Week." "I think it's more likely that the attacks would probably happen outside the perimeter, more soft targets, transportation modes, if you will."

The men in the video claim to be from Dagestan, about 1,000 miles from Sochi. Militants see an attack on the Olympics as a chance to humiliate Putin.

The men in the video appear to construct explosive devices and document, step by step, how they planned the Volgograd attacks. They say in a part of the recording directed at Russian officials that they "will continue to kill you and your soldiers."

"This is for all the Muslim blood that is shed every day around the world, be it in Afghanistan, Somalia, Syria, all around the world," they said. "This will be our revenge."

Putin said over the weekend that he "will try to make sure that the security measures taken aren't too intrusive or visible and that they won't put pressure on the athletes, guests and journalists."

NBC News' Richard Engel in Moscow, Elisha Fieldstadt in New York and Erin McClam in New York contributed to this report. The Associated Press also contributed.

 

»Comments

More News

Most Popular

Top Videos

1 2 3 4