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'Airport bombers trained in Pak'

world Updated: Jan 26, 2011 22:56 IST
Dipankar De Sarkar
Dipankar De Sarkar
Hindustan Times
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The two terrorists who carried out the suicide bombing at Moscow's Domodedovo International Airport were trained by the al-Qaeda in Pakistan and despatched to target the transport system in the Russian capital, according to a Russian newspaper account quoted in London on Wednesday.

Monday's explosion was carried out by two suicide bombers - a man and a woman. Three accomplices, who supervised from a distance, are now being hunted. The attack killed 30 people and wounded 180, 49 of them seriously.

The action came in spite of warnings issued last month by Russian security services, the Daily Telegraph reported quoting the Kommersant, a Russian newspaper. The Kommersant has published a memo from the Russian security services to Moscow police warning that terrorists who had been trained in Pakistan planned to launch attacks in the Russian capital.

The memo, reportedly issued in December 2010, warned of "credible intelligence" on two terrorist groups. One was a suicide squad made up of three women and a man - all from the troubled Russian 'Republic' of Chechnya - who had spent time in Pakistan and Iran and were headed toward Moscow. The second was a group of five terrorists, who had trained in Pakistan and was expected to go to Russia soon, the memo added. The first group had access to a flat in Moscow that might be used as a bomb-making factory.

The Kommersant reported that Russian intelligence officials were alerted to the threat when a woman accidentally blew herself up on New Year's Eve in Moscow. She and a girlfriend had apparently been sent to Moscow from Dagestan - another of Russia's 21 federal republics - to commit an act of terror.

The British daily said an Al Qaeda-linked website has claimed that the militant group Islamic Caucasus Emirate, which is led by the Chechen Islamist Doku Umarov, is set to claim responsibility for Monday's attack.

Pakistani security agencies are believed to have set up the original link between Russian Islamicist separatists and their country by encouraging Taliban-ruled Afghan government to have Chechen separatist leader Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev serve as their roving ambassador. He was only ordered out of Pakistan after the 9/11 terrorist attack.